Sulmere, what can you tell us about naming trends? When a parent chooses a name for a child, or when someone chooses a new name for a new life, what factors typically go into consideration? Are these traditions reasonably stable or do they change much over time? Are some names particularly popular? (In human history, many cultures have had periods of history where the pool of given names was very small — as low as a dozen.) What are the words derived from?

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Oh no, we don’t actually choose names for our children. I talked to my writer and was pretty shocked that human culture allows that. I mean when I think about it, I guess it couldn’t work the way it does for us… but it just seems so incredibly arrogant to presume to give someone else a name.

Names are incredibly personal, and work pretty much the same in every Kukun’lu culture I know about. There are probably some exceptions (like the Sazid, who are just freaky), but it’s an otherwise universal standard.

When you have a child, they take on your most recent name, the one you’ve chosen for your current life. My name in my 7th life was (and my 7th name is) Vialio. The reason my child’s first name is Vialio is because I had them in that life. They chose every subsequent name, but the first one is something that’s inherited (rather than selected actively) by a parent.

Choosing a name for someone else would be… really insulting. It would be presumptuous. How can you know what kind of a person they’re going to be? How could you presume to decide what they would call themself just based on some whim you’re feeling at the moment? The name they get from you is an element of their lineage, though. It connects them to their line of succession. It’s a big part of a connection between a parent and child as well, although that’s tough to explain to anyone who hasn’t been through it as either a parent or a child… I think this might just be one of those things that’s a gap between human culture and the cultures we have here.

Anyhow, there are definitely trends with names that come and go. They go in and out of style. People tend to be very thoughtful when choosing their names, though. As a result, there tends to be a lot of variety.

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