Names without meanings

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tuna_sushi
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Names without meanings

#1 Post by tuna_sushi » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:33 pm

I'm not so sure where to put this... :? I'm sorry if I put it in the wrong section. :oops:

I keep having trouble giving names in general, like naming schools and such... :cry:

So my question is:
Does it bother you that some names doesn't have any meaning in games/VNs?

Not people, of course. But like a school, the name of a pet, VN group name, etc.
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Re: Names without meanings

#2 Post by Lishy » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:49 pm

It bothers me when names DO have meanings! At least, obvious meanings.

Actually, what really bothers me is when authors try to give every damn single object in the story a deeper meaning than simply focusing on the plot.

It makes me feel like I'm in English class when I have to pay attention to so many details BESIDES the plot! I want a story, not an English essay!

It doesn't make your story any "deeper" whatsoever if you inject it with a crapton of symbolism and names with deeper meanings to them.

If anything, it actually takes AWAY the immersion with the protagonist and the emotions of the story because most of the time unneeded symbolism just draws our attention away from the immersion, and feels like too much of a damn coincidence!
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Re: Names without meanings

#3 Post by Gambit74 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:37 pm

I agree with Lishy on the meaning behind names. I can understand if it's maybe just one or two people or if it's a nickname for that person, but to simply give them that birth name purely for symbolism is a bit too much. I mean, no one can predict how their children would turn out or what they will become when they grow up. It's too unrealistic when this person's name just happens to be *insert heroic or messiah-like name here* because they were destined to save the world one day, or something like that.
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Re: Names without meanings

#4 Post by Taleweaver » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:19 am

Gambit74 wrote:I agree with Lishy on the meaning behind names. I can understand if it's maybe just one or two people or if it's a nickname for that person, but to simply give them that birth name purely for symbolism is a bit too much. I mean, no one can predict how their children would turn out or what they will become when they grow up.
No, but people wish for their children to turn out in a specific way. My parents, for example, chose the name of a famous German knight as my first name because they wanted me to become as tough and implacable as him. Did it work out? Maybe...

In other cultures, this "parents' wish" often comes through even more obviously. Japanese girl names often end on "mi", meaning "beautiful", while boys are often named after "strong things" like iron (the "tetsu" in "Tetsuro", for example). And if the child strives to make his/her parents happy, then why shouldn't he/she grow up to become the person his name says he/she is?
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Re: Names without meanings

#5 Post by Showsni » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:13 am

I remember an Agatha Christie book were the characters are discussing that it's a shame someone was named Helen, as she turned out very plain (the historical/mythological Helen being known for her great beauty). Maybe you could havea VN were everyone was the opposite of their names!

Really, of course, every name has a meaning, but I don't think you need to worry about trying to give it a deeper meaning. If the characters live in Oldtown, then calling the school Oldtown Comprehensive is just fine. You don't need to try hard and call it St. Jude's because he's the patron saint of lost causes and everyone who goes here won't make much of their life.

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Re: Names without meanings

#6 Post by Arelune » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:29 am

I also agree with Lishy.
Taleweaver wrote:No, but people wish for their children to turn out in a specific way. My parents, for example, chose the name of a famous German knight as my first name because they wanted me to become as tough and implacable as him.
Some people do this, but nowadays most people just choose names because they like the sound of it. Where I live at the very least.

So do what you want, there are a lot of meaningless names is life, why should fiction be any different?

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Re: Names without meanings

#7 Post by Gear » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:59 am

My opinion is that names should not correlate to characters in meaning. Case in point: one of my characters is named Ethan. Instead of making him the tough, handsome, charming guy the name usually implies, he's a mean, sarcastic, short, skinny nerd with an superiority complex. It keeps things interesting.
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Re: Names without meanings

#8 Post by Taleweaver » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:20 am

Arelune wrote:I also agree with Lishy.
Taleweaver wrote:No, but people wish for their children to turn out in a specific way. My parents, for example, chose the name of a famous German knight as my first name because they wanted me to become as tough and implacable as him.
Some people do this, but nowadays most people just choose names because they like the sound of it. Where I live at the very least.
Exactly. Where YOU live. It depends on cultural context. In some northern countries, names may still mean "son of..." or "daughter of...", tribal cultures may have very flowery descriptions as names, most modern Western industrial nations choose names because they sound nice. But names with meanings are not necessarily tacky in all contexts. Just wanted to mention that.
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Re: Names without meanings

#9 Post by nyaatrap » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:59 am

Taleweaver wrote:Exactly. Where YOU live. It depends on cultural context.
Ah yeah. Japanese are obsessively thinking about the meaning of their names, and the creators are also trying to give them hidden meanings (I am too).
But I'm becoming to thinking that I don't need to care about them deeply, because I found many players don't care about them so much.

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Re: Names without meanings

#10 Post by Destiny » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:50 pm

Why should it? ôo
As long as it is not important to the story (like the name of the main character giving a hint on his super secret magic power or stuff) I will not care or even know.

I always choose names from the meaning, BUT the meaning is not relevant and as such only interesting when people know it or search willingly (like my main character is called Robin that means "The glowing; The one who brings back the light", that is of course because of his role in the game, but seriously, who would know the meaning of that name? xD)


So yeah, just do it without meaning.

BUT if you have japanese characters, then you should seriously think about the names, because the japanese tend to make a huge thinking of the name. Girls often have flowers or stuff like "kind", "beautiful" or "smart" in their name, boys often have animals, trees or words like "strong", "guiding" and stuff in it. Parents want to bring their child good luck by choosing a special name and hoping that the name will guide the way (resulting in a beautiful girl or a boy with leaderposition).
My japanese teacher for example was named Masayoshi. Masa and Yoshi(o) both mean righteous, so they wanted him to be a man that knows whats right or wrong and made it double powerful by making both parts of the name mean the same thing. And a japanese friend of mine is called Aiko, simply meaning "loved child", meaning the parents hope for her to be loved by everyone.
I can't find that project your working on, but in case that there are japanese characters, you can see here what the names mean:
20.000-names.com
Behind the Name
Baby Names World
Name Meanings


But in general, yeah, ignore the meaning if you find it unrelevant. I don't think that any other country except from the far east is really that interested in the meaning of names and as such will ignore it anyway ;)
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Re: Names without meanings

#11 Post by FatUnicornGames » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:23 pm

When I can't come up with a good name, I start thinking about my good friend's last names. The name of the school in Club Shuffle is actually a friend's name that I thought fit. She is flattered and I get a cool name to use. Win-Win.
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Re: Names without meanings

#12 Post by Dakishimete » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:43 am

I doesn't bother me at all. My own name doesn't really mean anything, why characters' names have to? I presonally find it even annoying when character's name fits prefectly their personality or their story.

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Re: Names without meanings

#13 Post by Pyonkotchi » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:00 pm

I love meaningful names
but frankly i don't really care either way. I won't notice unless I'm told.

for me I just personally find it easier to come up with a good name if I use meaning, even if i don't USE the meaning it gives me something to go on. for example. I won't always use a name that MEANS expensive and rare for a rich character, but I'l use an classy SOUNDING name :Y

(Because otherwise my story will have like, six Daniels, eleven Joshuas, fifteen Penelopes and forty-two Lucias, u.u)
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Re: Names without meanings

#14 Post by lemuel » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:21 pm

I like giving characters names that reflect their cultures. However, I like giving characters English names so that truly exotic names, which are merely strings of sounds, stand out more.

Thus, my Mician Princess has the name "White Silk". This is relevant to her culture - Micius was obsessed with dyeing white silk - and encodes real values - her parents want her to be like silk soft and beautiful yet strong.

In contrast, another character has the Greek name Hippodamia. This name she chose upon academic achievement (as is customary in my setting). Now, Hippodamia communicates a powerful value - it means "Female Breaker of Horses" - but the fact that it is in Greek rather than English conveys the name's exoticness.

Finally, I have a character named Gqirrl. Now this is to us a strange name that is a sound without meaning, but it also reveals how mysterious she and her culture are, that no one knows how to translate it.

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Re: Names without meanings

#15 Post by Sapphi » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:53 pm

Lishy wrote: Actually, what really bothers me is when authors try to give every damn single object in the story a deeper meaning than simply focusing on the plot.

It makes me feel like I'm in English class when I have to pay attention to so many details BESIDES the plot! I want a story, not an English essay!

It doesn't make your story any "deeper" whatsoever if you inject it with a crapton of symbolism and names with deeper meanings to them.
Showsni wrote:If the characters live in Oldtown, then calling the school Oldtown Comprehensive is just fine. You don't need to try hard and call it St. Jude's because he's the patron saint of lost causes and everyone who goes here won't make much of their life.
Ahh!! I disagree!!
I mean, I get where you guys are coming from. You're tired of heroes and villains with names like "Justice McKnightly" and "Amphibius Puffwart". That can and does get distracting (although I would argue it is sometimes very entertaining). But please, please, please, don't discount the value of literary symbolism! Plot is most important, but it is very fun to play with symbolism as an author.

I understand the frustration of feeling like the story is shoving the symbolism in your face. I don't like that either, and consequently I think symbolism in literature should be subtle. Because how satisfying is it, upon reading a really good book, to go back and find the deeper layers it contains? To me, that is very satisfying. Finding hidden meanings is fun. And not everyone (including me, until just now) knows that St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. It's more clever than if you just called it "Hopeless Academy". It's like an in-joke for the readers who do know, and a "OH! I SEE WUT U DID THERE!" for readers who will eventually find out.

I feel like the general attitude about literature these days is that using symbolism in literature is pretentious and "academic". I guess I am probably biased, since I very much enjoy literary analysis, but I find that very sad. I like when there is a reason or purpose behind the author's choices. You know how you enjoy reading trivia about your favorite show or subject? It's like that. It's the little details that make the whole experience richer.
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