“Root” and “egg” names
Alplai individuals actually receive their names before hatching. This “egg name” (donibra) is epicene (or gender-blind), and is easily changed to the person’s regular name; transgender individuals can also change their given name to reflect their gender identity. The common body of a person’s name is called the “root name” (marvibra).
- A Kiitra egg name ends with the consonant -d, which is replaced once hatched.
- A Saakh egg name (tenfrei) ends with the consonant -t, which is replaced once hatched.
- A Krishkarha egg name (tenvra) ends with the consonant -f, which is replaced once hatched.
- A Baija egg name (epkliire) ends with the suffix -heze, which is replaced once hatched.
- A Konarai egg name (managalazta) is prefixed with apnakhatnasha’- (“beloved egg carrying … “) and suffixed with -a’a; once hatched, the prefix is dropped, and the suffix adjusted or dropped to reflect the individual’s biological sex.
- Some parents, especially of mixed ethniticy, create an egg name ending with the consonant -z.
Gender distinctions in names
In most cultures, male names end in -k, -n or -sh; female names end in -g, -m or -j. These endings also correspond with one another:
- k with g
- n with m
- sh with j
This allows transgender individuals to easily change names by replacing the last letter with its counterpart. Additionally, intersex and androgynous individuals use names ending with -z.
The exception to this is with the Konarai. Male names end with a consonant, female names end with a single vowel, and intersex/androgyous individuals use a double vowel separated by a glottal stop (-a’a); transgender individuals therefore drop or add a vowel as appropriate to their identity. Hence, after the child is hatched:
- if identified as male, the entire suffix is dropped
- if identified as female, the glottal stop and second vowel are dropped
- if identified as intersex, the suffix is retained
Name with vartoga
The Alplai do not have surnames like many Terrans do. Instead, the proper name is followed by a phrase known as a vartoga; this roughly corresponds to a patronymic, but is not strictly patrilineal, and since there are different forms for various cultures (as well as for descendants of Saakh nobility and devotees of Murai) it is also indicates ethnic and/or other elements of one’s background.
[name] + vara + [mother’s name] + en + [father’s name]
Example: Fajrok vara Taluukadovej en Fajaran
[name] + fala + [mother’s name] + laja + [birthplace]
Example: Shaladajana fala Tasharana laja Dajamarava
Saakh and Krishkarha
The Krishkarha adopted the Saakh convention while under the suzerainty of the ancient Saakh emperors.
[name] + vaar + [father’s name]
Example: Marok vaar Tonavon
Descendants of Saakh nobility
Individuals descended from the Saakh imperial nobility retain their own naming convention of following the father’s name with uu’maaj (“of house of”) and the name of their ancestral noble house; more formally, the name may be preceded with the courtesy title Rhas (“prince” or “lord”) or Rhaz (feminine form)
Example: Rhas Ganak vaar Jenzalak uu’maaj Jiiraan
[name] + khelaa + [father’s name] + eglaa + [father’s clan]
Example: Toralok khelaa Zunarash eglaa Giiradra
When the Murai religious movement began in the aquatic floating cities, some viewed it with suspicion and hostility, causing many devotees to be estranged from their families. In response, many adopted a “spiritual” vartoga to emphasize their commitment to the Murai devotional community. The person’s name is followed by the word edravara, then by the name of the person’s spiritual mentor
Example: Keritanej edravara Duushranan