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So I don't like how we currently assign names to ourselves. In a society moving towards equality, it doesn't strike me as particularly consistent or practical.
I feel there has to be a better way, but I don't know what it should be, or how it should work.
To be clear: "Firstname Lastname" nomenclature seems fundamentally inefficient. Indications of heritage only propagate from one parent at best. No matter how you roll it, you can't contain a decent history in there or a fair appraisal of one's formative influences.
I don't like this. At the very least I think both parent's should get a fair representation in the name, without deferrence to either and without encumbering the name with hyphenation. Some type of phonetics arrangements which kind of naturally mutates would be ideal, but what should this be?
As a motivator for discussion, I present an example of how The Culture does names for biological citizens, although there's the obvious issue that in our world you can't switch sex at will and the social expectation isn't for every adult to have 1 child during their 400 years of life:
Some humanoid or drone Culture citizens have long names, often with seven or more words. Some of these words specify the citizen's origin (place of birth or manufacture), some an occupation, and some (chosen later in life by the citizen themselves) may denote specific philosophical or political alignments, or make other similarly personal statements. An example would be Diziet Sma whose full name is Rasd-Coduresa Diziet Embless Sma da' Marenhide:
Rasd-Coduresa is the planetary system of her birth, and the specific object (planet, orbital, Dyson sphere, etc.). The '-sa' suffix is roughly equivalent to '-er' in English. By this convention, Earth humans would all be named Sol-Terrasa (or Sun-Earther).
Diziet is her given name. This is chosen by a parent, usually the mother.
Embless is her chosen name. Most Culture citizens choose this when they reach adulthood (according to The Player of Games this is known as "completing one's name"). As with all conventions in the Culture, it may be broken or ignored: some change their chosen name during their lives, some never take one.
Sma is her surname, usually taken from one's mother.
da' Marenhide is the 'house'/estate she was raised within, the 'da' or 'dam' being similar to 'von' in German.
Iain Banks has given his own Culture name as "Sun-Earther Iain El-Bonko Banks of Queensferry"
So, D&D'ers - what do you think. How do we choose our names such that we give fair deference to the genetic parentage of someone, their own personality, their formative experience, or significant influences? And how do we do it in a way which is sustainable over multiple generations of names?