Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Fourth Name


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

Many of us have three names: first, middle, and last. Our last names are used in formal situations. Our first names are used among friends and peers. And our middle names...are hidden on our driver's licences. Usually.

What if was had more names? Other names? How might they be used?

This is the sort of fantasy world-building thought that'll flit through my brain from time to time. The original thought was, "What if we had four names?"

15 comments:

  1. Some of us do have four names. My fourth is a confirmation name. And then there are all the nicknames. It's like my dog, Schultz. He has his real name, and then he has all the other names we call him. He responds to all of them. ;-)

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    1. I knew people would tell me they had more than three names. So, what if you had a fifth name?

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  2. My oldest son has four names. His first name and then two middle names and his last name. I didn't like the sound of the name with just three so we added a fourth and it sounds perfect.

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    1. Two middle names? Then he knew when you were really mad.

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  3. As long as they aren't hard to pronounce or hard to spell names, I say the more the merrier :)

    betty

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    1. Yeah, well... I guess if we had more names, we wouldn't need to be as "creative"? Probably not.

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  4. I've always wondered why we had a middle name at all. Family name I get, personal name obviously, plus even nicknames. But a middle name? It never seemed to serve a purpose. I guess I'm saying I'd like to come up with a reason for that one first :)

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  5. I have four names, too. My fourth name is a "Hebrew" name, given to me shortly after birth by my parents. The sages say it acts as a conduit for spiritual purposes. I haven't thought about mine for years, though. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. Okay, so what if you had a fifth name?

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  6. Middle names were invented because there were too many John Smiths in any given town. Or too many of whatevers. Small towns were made up of just a few families, and family names were huge - not just the last name, but everybody being a George or a Thomas or a Robert. Middle names helped censuses to identify them further.
    I have 4 names myself, although the 4th I gave myself. I think it would be funny to go back to throwing our profession into our names again. I'm actually a real life Taylor even though I can barely do a button and a wonky hem.

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    1. Well, we kind of all do have our "internet" names, don't we. Although, mine is kind of amalgam of my real name. Sort of.

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  7. Not sure what I’d do with more names. I have three now and none of them get much use except on Facebook. The great thing about my given name is that if someone uses it on the phone, I know they're trying to sell me something.

    VR Barkowski

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  8. I have had clients with even more than 4 names. Crazy times:) I shall say my 4 name would be Tigrib:)

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  9. I don't have a middle name and neither do my sister or brother. My teachers never believed me at school. They thought it must have been something embarrassing that I wouldn't own up to. I gave all my own kids middle names. I wish I had one.

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    1. Nowadays that's all in the computer. Sometimes students don't want to admit to a middle name, and others will try to pry it out of them. I look at the roll sheet and then keep quiet. (If the kiddos don't want to admit to it, I'm not going to divulge.)

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