Simplified Alethi naming convention

5 posts in this topic

This is just a theory. It's probably too simple to be the whole story. But it makes sense, and I think it could be useful for (among other things) identifying Alethi characters in foreign lands, and creating Alethi OCs for fanfiction.

In Writing Excuses, Brandon once mentioned a linguistic paradigm for "classical" Alethi names. He didn't describe it in detail, but he said it was invented to explain 'Dalinar,' which didn't really fit with the Vorin naming convention. He also said that 'Kaladin,' which he came up with by altering 'paladin,' conveniently fit this new classical paradigm. 

He also said this, in a 2014 interview:


Also suffix - like Kaladin is Kalak (Herald) + din which is a suffix, all of them mean things, like the old Hebrew names have "born of" or "comes through". Stick that on and drop the last letter. Dalinar, Elhokar, all of those have suffixes - nar, kar.

But there's a much simpler pattern in these names. And here it is: 

A simple alternation of Consonants (C) and vowels (V).

(C)  V  C  V  C  V  C

The initial consonant is in brackets because it's optional. It can be dropped, so names begin with a vowel. But the rest of the sequence doesn't change. No double vowels or double consonants. (Digraphs, like Th and Sh, count as one letter because they represent a single phoneme.)

This holds true for the following Alethi names.

Elhokar (assuming Lh is a digraph, the Alethi version of a double-L in English)
Amaram (coincidentally also a proper Vorin name)
Helaran (not Alethi, but close)

Notice that all of these are men. This paradigm is only used for male names. As far as I can tell, all Alethi men have either Vorin names, or names in this pattern. (Vorin meaning palindromic, with one letter added, subtracted, or changed.) The only complication is Restares, whose name is neither Vorin nor classical. It violates my classical pattern because of the "ST" in the middle. But since Restares hasn't been confirmed as an Alethi, this may not be a problem.

I'm wondering if anyone can see any additional patterns or rules that govern this system.

Just for fun, I will now list some names from other Cosmere works that conveniently match this pattern. Galladon. Aredel. Luthadel. Aledin. Aradan (Yomen). Bevidon. Bavadin! Devanex. Dukaler. Galivan. Goradel. Heberen. Ishathon. Caberel. Nikolin. Arelon. Opelon. Duladel. Seraven. Enelan.

And now some names from outside the Cosmere, to illustrate the general fantasy-friendly vibe of this paradigm: Saruman. Denethor. Boromir. Faramir. Azeroth. Suramar. Dalaran. Selidor. Eragon. (Po) Dameron. Caladan. Muradin. Mogenar. Telamon. Galadan. Malekith. Malacath. Akatosh. Zenithar. Kynareth. Erikur.

(Obviously it also fits many not-so-fantastical names, like Cameron and Oliver. But let's leave reality out of this. Although Pokemon also fits.)


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5 minutes ago, 8giraffe8 said:

Pikachu is Alethi?!




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44 minutes ago, 8giraffe8 said:

Pikachu is Alethi?!

Isn't this just because most of Japanese is built this way? (See Hirigana being characters representing C V phoneme pairs, plus one for each vowel sound on it's own, and one for n.)


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3 hours ago, 8giraffe8 said:

Pikachu is Alethi?!

Well, technically Pikachu doesn't qualify. It's the first consonant that's optional, not the final one. Classical Alethi names always end in a consonant. Japanese names almost never do. (And when they do, it's always N.)

But several other Pokemon do fit the pattern. Metapod, Nidoran, Venonat, Venomoth, Poliwag, Rapidash, and Marowak, just to name a few.


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