forum I need opinions for a name idea
tune

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@Serpentess health_and_safety language

So, one of my main races is a reptilian (specifically dragon/draconic) race called Drāckonians. I’ve previously had trouble coming up with a better name (to avoid issues regarding how similar it is to ‘Draconian’), but I recently found an old note that ‘Drāckonian’ is supposed to be a translation of their real name.

What I’m wondering is, would that be sufficient? And what if I came up with a name in the Drāckonian language that is their ‘real’ name, but only Drāckonians use it? They would still be commonly called Drāckonians, but that’s not actually what they call themselves, if that makes sense.

(And any random name ideas to inspire me, if I go down this road, would be helpful. It’s optional though)
(Also, any additional ideas to add to this whole concept are accepted)

@The-Dyonisia group

Oh! So Drāckonian is an exonym, cool! So they'd probably speak like reptiles right? So I'd imagine that their language is both guttural and labial, because reptiles usually make noises with their throats and tongues, so I'm leaning into t's, ng's, u's and r's. Arrut'ang (IPA: ä-ʁu-ʈ'-ʌŋ) is what I came up with. I hope I could be of help.

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

(Ooh, ‘exonym’. A new word for me to stash! Little gremlin runs off with the word)
(Don’t mind me, lol)


I guess? I’m honestly not sure. Drāckonians have their own language, and also forked tongues, so the language is indeed gutteral, but they also lisp. They usually lean on S’s, Th’s, K’s, and Z’s (that’s what I have so far. I only have a list of words and names down for their language).

(Also, Drāckonians are specifically draconic. I’ll edit the first post slightly to elaborate that)

Hmm… interesting. Something that’s funny and neat at the same time, Arrut’ang gives me snake vibes. I’ll probably stash it for later, grin.

(And any help is greatly appreciated, so yeah, grin)

daelstrom

Who is naming them?
If they are a dominant species, they could demand recognition in their own language, forcing others to fill their oral orifaces with all the 'sss'sss their fork tongues may demand.

But maybe they are from a multi-lingual world, where words must transcend different species capabilities to say them.
Many cultures have suffered the ignorance of cultures who have diminished their legacy into words of limited expression. The word 'barbarian' comes from the greek speakers interpretation of how these strange cultures spoke (bar-bar) and names can betray great meaning of how the recipient is received in the world.

What is the story of their name? What does it mean to them, and others?
How does it set them in the 'pecking order' of the racial politics?
Are they great old power that is seen to be on the wane? Are they defined by their victims or their overlords?
How do you want the race to be perceived by the reader?

Personally I like adding 'ae's to make it more ye olde worlde
Like Draekling

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Drāckonians are the only humanoids on their world (as in, the only ones that can survive on their world, because of the atmosphere), but they trade with other worlds. They are only multi-lingual in the sense that they speak their native language and the human ‘Common’ language (aka English).

What I’m saying is that others, such as humans and other races, call them ‘Drāckonian’, and they call themselves something of their language. Drāckonian is most likely a translation, or a nickname, rude or not (Basically a gutteral Draco-nian, or dragon-folk).

I’m just looking for advice and ideas on how to proceed, if I proceed. I honestly don’t know though, because I’ve had so much conflict over their name. At this point, I can’t tell if they’re called Drāckonians, or if that’s just a placeholder until I finally manage to find something that actually works (which has yet to happen in the several years that I’ve had them). So yeah.

What is the story of their name? What does it mean to them, and others?
I’ll keep this question in mind. Because I have no answer whatsoever.

How does it set them in the 'pecking order' of the racial politics?
Like many types of dragons, they can be arrogant, and they basically dominate the trade in their area (I guess you could say their own equivalent of the ‘Known Universe’, which includes Earth).
—Honestly, this is a very, very underdeveloped part of them.

Are they great old power that is seen to be on the wane? Are they defined by their victims or their overlords?
No, to both questions. Some races don’t like them because of their trade dominance, otherwise they are neutrals with about everyone.
—They are a tribalistic society that’s heavily influenced by honor and tradition. They’re warriors, but mostly peaceful.

How do you want the race to be perceived by the reader?
Um… not something I’ve thought about, at all. They’re one of my primary races, so yeah.

(I’ll keep the ‘ae’ thing in mind. I like to do that sometimes as well).

daelstrom

Names need to resonate with meaning somehow, like if someone tells you where they are from, and you'll usually already have a base opinion of their nationality.
You seem to have a good understanding of who they are, but you just don't have a name that you can confidently refer to them, as at this stage it is only a word. Is this correct?

Words can be made quite arbitrarily, but tend to have some sort of origin based on pre-existing meanings.
They also can reveal the the opinion of the race by the name maker.

You could build the meaning in your own mind, which I tend to do by looking at how similar types of words have originated in our world.
for instance, if you google Drāckonians, with spell check you get draconian, a word that could imbue meaning to your spelling if this resembles the character as percieved by their english speaking visitors
draconian: drā-kō′nē-ən, drə- adjective
-Exceedingly harsh; very severe.
-Pertaining to Draco, a famous lawgiver of Athens, 621 b. c.
-Used especially in the phrase Draconian punishment.a code of laws made by Draco.
-Their measures were so severe that they were said to be written in letters of blood; hence, any laws of excessive rigor.
This is quite applicable if thats the way they are percieved by others

A step I make when developing a new word is to look at the etymology (origins of word) of similar words so I can make my own unique take

For instance if you google 'dragon' & etymology, you get springboards you can develop different words
"mid-13c., dragoun, a fabulous animal common to the conceptions of many races and peoples, from Old French dragon and directly from Latin draconem (nominative draco) "huge serpent, dragon," from Greek drakon (genitive drakontos) "serpent, giant seafish," apparently from drak-, strong aorist stem of derkesthai "to see clearly," from PIE *derk- "to see" (source also of Sanskrit darsata- "visible;" Old Irish adcondarc "I have seen;" Gothic gatarhjan "characterize;" Old English torht, Old High German zoraht "light, clear;" Albanian dritë "light")."

This gives you options to develop from non contemporary sources (i.e Drakon from the greek rather than Draco- from the latin) and seeing where the original words originated from (possibly derk- "to see")

You could also follow early origins of associated names like 'drake'
"From Middle English drake (“dragon; Satan”), from Old English draca (“dragon, sea monster, huge serpent”), from Proto-West Germanic *drakō (“dragon”), from Latin dracō (“dragon”), from Ancient Greek δράκων (drákōn, “serpent, giant seafish”), from δέρκομαι (dérkomai, “I see clearly”), from Proto-Indo-European *derḱ-. Compare Middle Dutch drake and German Drache. "

Perhaps english speakers weren't the first to name them? You could use the German 'Drache' as the root, so its not so different, but seemingly a little more 'exotic'.
Drachenfyr was a word that came up in my googling, and I understood it to mean 'dragon fire' despite not finding an actual meaning.
In this way I make medieval fantasy world names simply by using comparable Old language words and combinations, to make easy exotic languages.

You could also look into related names like dinosaur
a modern Latin word from Greek deinos "terrible" (see dire) + sauros "lizard"
You could collect a few of these origin words to combine them in meaningful ways.
Try googling the origins of the words you use to describe them. Words are meant to be vessels of meaning, and early words are just the combination of similar root words

Just put words into a website like this https://www.etymonline.com/ and use your powers of creative word arranging to develop a unique and meaningful name of your own
When you realise how words develop almost by accident, and whose meanings evolve with time, you'll have more confidence to make your own.

You can even mix languages - 'Television' comes from Greek & Latin words combined!

Good luck!
I know how hard it is to get comfortable with the names of your new subjects, as I am struggling with names for the many factions of my post apocalyptic America and the misrembered meanings that have survived the breakdown of shared knowledge - and thats all just in colloquial english!
I usually chew over them until they 'fit', after i've changed them, swapped them around and further developed them to beyond their initial naming

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

You seem to have a good understanding of who they are, but you just don't have a name that you can confidently refer to them, as at this stage it is only a word. Is this correct?

Pretty much. I was going with something, maybe, representative of ‘dragon-folk’, and Drāckonian is something I’ve used for a while. It almost ‘fits’, but I’m concerned it’s too close to ‘draconian’.

‘Draconian’ was actually their first name (based on the connection with Draco [dragon]). But, when I discovered them as existing races in Star Trek and DnD, I modified the spelling to ‘Drāckonian’. But, like I said, I’m concerned it’s too close.

Words can be made quite arbitrarily, but tend to have some sort of origin based on pre-existing meanings.
They also can reveal the the opinion of the race by the name maker.

They definitely can be, but I hadn’t necessarily thought of it like that. I’ll keep this in mind.

You could build the meaning in your own mind, which I tend to do by looking at how similar types of words have originated in our world.

I tend to come up with unique names that don’t necessarily have any human-based origin (sometimes it does though). But, I’ll see how this works.

for instance, if you google Drāckonians, with spell check you get draconian, a word that could imbue meaning to your spelling if this resembles the character as percieved by their english speaking visitors
draconian: drā-kō′nē-ən, drə- adjective
-Exceedingly harsh; very severe.
-Pertaining to Draco, a famous lawgiver of Athens, 621 b. c.
-Used especially in the phrase Draconian punishment.a code of laws made by Draco.
-Their measures were so severe that they were said to be written in letters of blood; hence, any laws of excessive rigor.
This is quite applicable if thats the way they are percieved by others

I knew the definition and basic etymology of ‘Draconian’, but I hadn’t thought of it like that. But… they do have semi-strict traditions, so yeah. It could be a misrepresentation and/or be overdramatized.

A step I make when developing a new word is to look at the etymology (origins of word) of similar words so I can make my own unique take

I never thought of this! And it was right in front of me!

Perhaps english speakers weren't the first to name them? You could use the German 'Drache' as the root, so its not so different, but seemingly a little more 'exotic'.

Interesting. I honestly tend to default to English, but that is a good idea.

You could also look into related names like dinosaur
a modern Latin word from Greek deinos "terrible" (see dire) + sauros "lizard"

I never thought about researching ‘dinosaur’. I’ve tried looking at ‘dragon’, ‘serpent’, and ‘snake’ in different languages (which really didn’t inspire me), but I completely overlooked ‘dinosaur’, lol.

I usually chew over them until they 'fit', after i've changed them, swapped them around and further developed them to beyond their initial naming

Same here, unless the first name ‘fits’, but my Drāckonians have been the unlucky ones that, even after trying a couple dozen different names, nothing’s worked.

daelstrom

Give them time, they'll let you know who they are eventually.
Maybe you could soften the reptillian nature by the 'folk'
I have a whole faction developed around the word 'Volken, the north germanic version of the concept of local community. 'dragon folk, imbues a sense of a culture more than just stereotype may suggest.

Maybe some conventions of martial cultures like the samurai, where their 'code' is presented as their defining trait.
As the traders with the race may only meet the advanced guard, maybe their name relates to their specific caste over represented as the name of them all? Like Samurai, Dorsai, or Jedi
People pay a lot of money to get good marketing, a strong hunter culture may prefer a dire sounding name, while a self actualised zen culture may play down their threat level to avoid unnecessary conflict.

I wouldn't worry about the final name till you need to make final proof on a print run.
And I wouldn't worry too much about getting the specifics right.
Sometimes its the nuances inbetween the details that enrich the story.

If you want further inspiration for treating a non human race, check out Chaosiums trollpack,
"Trollpak is an excellent example of how to breathe life and creativity into nonhuman races, and I recommend to anyone interested in seeing its superb presentation. Trolls in the RuneQuest game may be monsters, but they are well characterized and believably motivated"
This is not an ad, i just respect their work. While youre at it, check out their Dragonewts.
They are a non metal using immortal warrior race that eventually become Dragons

Have fun with the etymology rabbit holes…

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

Give them time, they'll let you know who they are eventually.
Maybe you could soften the reptillian nature by the 'folk'

Yeah, that’s all I can really do right now. Downside to that is, I can get very impatient sometimes.

I hadn’t really thought about doing something like that until now. But, yesterday, with your recommendation to use the etymology of whatever words to find a name (there is no emphasis on how grateful I am for that), it inspired me to work a bit more on my Drāckonian language (it’s still very basic, lol), and I discovered that ‘Drāckonian’ is definitely not their native name. So, instead of it being ‘possibly’ an exonym, now it’s, for certain, either that, or not applicable (unless, of course, I change the spelling, but mere technicality). I’m making progress, finally.

Maybe some conventions of martial cultures like the samurai, where their 'code' is presented as their defining trait.
As the traders with the race may only meet the advanced guard, maybe their name relates to their specific caste over represented as the name of them all? Like Samurai, Dorsai, or Jedi
People pay a lot of money to get good marketing, a strong hunter culture may prefer a dire sounding name, while a self actualised zen culture may play down their threat level to avoid unnecessary conflict.

This is another one of those ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ moments. Though, I seriously need to work on the ’trade’ part of their society.

I wouldn't worry about the final name till you need to make final proof on a print run.
And I wouldn't worry too much about getting the specifics right.

This is both the easiest and hardest part of the whole thing. I’m notorious for being a bit of a perfectionist, lol.

If you want further inspiration for treating a non human race, check out Chaosiums trollpack,
"Trollpak is an excellent example of how to breathe life and creativity into nonhuman races, and I recommend to anyone interested in seeing its superb presentation. Trolls in the RuneQuest game may be monsters, but they are well characterized and believably motivated"
This is not an ad, i just respect their work. While youre at it, check out their Dragonewts.
They are a non metal using immortal warrior race that eventually become Dragons

I glanced at these yesterday. I immediately saved them for reference. Thank you for recommending them! I also like looking up DnD/Pathfinder creatures, or real-life mythological creatures, to use for reference/inspiration.

Have fun with the etymology rabbit holes…

Lmao! Yeah.

@Sweet_Pea

(In Skyrim the lizard ppl are called Argonians [Ar-gon-ians] my mom plays too much Skyrim)

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

( @Sweet_Pea, I’m good now. And I play Skyrim as well. But, names that are canon to Elder Scrolls [they belong specifically to Elder Scrolls, and are most likely copyrighted/owned by it as well], or canon to anything else, is not what I’m looking for)

daelstrom

@Serpentess Its just a pleasure to be part of an online discussion thats about creating stuff rather than just berating each other.
We should be muses to each other, like how hit songs resonate within many future releases
I commend you on your path for perfection, and allowing your creativity room to take charge for a while.
Ideas are organic if you let them, plant, maintain and see where they grow.
I wish the worldbuilders of this reality took as much care with the cultures of this reality ;)

@Althalosian-stands-w-Johnny
Thanks, I'm happy to share the gems I picked up adventuring thru life.

@Sweet_Pea

(Alright I get it, I just wanted to put in some input (: )

and we are better for it.
Never give up on being part of a conversation, its where the good stories come from
the greatest tales can be created by the smallest spark

@Sweet_Pea

@Serpentess Its just a pleasure to be part of an online discussion thats about creating stuff rather than just berating each other.
We should be muses to each other, like how hit songs resonate within many future releases
I commend you on your path for perfection, and allowing your creativity room to take charge for a while.
Ideas are organic if you let them, plant, maintain and see where they grow.
I wish the worldbuilders of this reality took as much care with the cultures of this reality ;)

@Althalosian-stands-w-Johnny
Thanks, I'm happy to share the gems I picked up adventuring thru life.

@Sweet_Pea

(Alright I get it, I just wanted to put in some input (: )

and we are better for it.
Never give up on being part of a conversation, its where the good stories come from
the greatest tales can be created by the smallest spark

Thank you this post just made my life :D

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

@Serpentess Its just a pleasure to be part of an online discussion thats about creating stuff rather than just berating each other.
We should be muses to each other, like how hit songs resonate within many future releases
I commend you on your path for perfection, and allowing your creativity room to take charge for a while.
Ideas are organic if you let them, plant, maintain and see where they grow.
I wish the worldbuilders of this reality took as much care with the cultures of this reality ;)

Same here, grin.

Lol, I have no problem with that, despite my inactivity these past few months.

I definitely know that feeling. I’ve had dozens of characters that turn from a mere idea/concept into a living, breathing entity. And there’s quite a few that shocked the hell out of me by what they became after becoming ‘alive’.
(A good example is my jester named On’nyosh. He went from a minor NPC for a Pathfinder campaign to a major side character with a very complex personality [and some rather strange hobbies] in my series based on the mentioned Pathfinder campaign. And he also caused my obsession with jesters, lmao!)

Yeah.