Names in Sheli

A recent MIT study showed that 70% of people have names. The speakers of Sheli are no different. This page will introduce you to the naming practices of Sheli. It may resemble something akin to fun. If so, consult your physician.


What's in a Name?

What indeed? As it turns out, three separate words. Sheli given names are composed of three words, themselves each taken from a limited set of words. Thus, every name has a particular form. To follow will be a list of each group of words. The groups will be given in linear order. Thus, in a given name, the group 1 word comes first, followed by the group 2 word, followed by the group 3 word. These three are combined to form the name, and are pronounced as a single word. Here come the groups!


Group 1

Group 1 words are primarily descriptive adjectives. Many are colors; some describe shapes; some describe other things. The total number of words is 20. Here's the list:

# Name Original Form Meaning
1 dow6 */dou/ first
2 án6 */axan/ red, rusty
3 3 */išan/ light blue, blue
4 pul3 */pulan/ white, bright
5 ğòm2 */ğomp/ black, dark brown, dark
6 6 */lii/ blue-green, green, dark blue
7 žis2 */žis/ yellow, gold, golden
8 čhin2 */čhin/ silver, gray, shiny, metallic, lustrous
9 bot1 */botu/ good
10 žun2 */žun/ large
11 nis2 */nis/ small, little
12 led1 */ledo/ loud
13 zán6 */zakhan/ quiet
14 žey6 */žei/ happy, joyful
15 ön6 */eğon/ endless, ceaseless, unceasing, infinite
16 ef3 */ephis/ long
17 kip1 */kipi/ short
18 šán6 */šakhan/ secret
19 čhoy6 */čhoi/ soft
20 xas1 */xasa/ quick, fast

Group 2

Group 2 words have to do with the time of day or year, or are a cardinal direction. The total number of words is 11. Here's the list:

# Name Original Form Meaning
1 phel1 */phele/ morning
2 5 */kiğu/ day, daytime
3 van2 */van/ night, nighttime
4 med3 */medes/ spring
5 vay6 */vai/ summer
6 thaš1 */thačha/ fall, autumn
7 tul3 */tulun/ winter
8 fiž1 */fiže/ north, northern
9 xem3 */xeman/ east, eastern
10 ğaz1 */ğaze/ south, southern
11 gul3 */gules/ west, western

Group 3

Group 3 words are nouns which are described by the group 1 and group 2 words. The total number of words is 37. Here's the list (presented in logical order):

# Name Original Form Meaning
1 tow6 */tou/ horizon
2 váy5 */vakhi/ sky
3 ží6 */žii/ sun
4 lom3 */lomon/ moon
5 jed1 */jedi/ star
6 wen6 */ukhen/ grass
7 jub3 */jubun/ dust
8 fay6 */fai/ water
9 phof3 */phofen/ fog
10 ší5 */šixi/ mist
11 čhas2 */čhas/ rain
12 čhèn1 */čhendo/ land
13 thik1 */thiki/ wind
14 khoy5 */khoği/ music
15 ved1 */vedi/ fire
16 dew5 */dekhu/ lightning
17 zìn1 */zindo/ thunder
18 phun1 */phuna/ snow
19 dàm3 */dambon/ tree
20 5 */ekha/ bird
21 tus3 */tusas/ feather
22 vud1 */vudu/ deer
23 phil3 */philen/ flower
24 dûs6 */dikhus/ mountain
25 gwas6 */gokhas/ forest
26 čhàng3 */čhangos/ cloud
27 xis3 */xithan/ lake
28 ğeš1 */ğečho/ rock, stone
29 gen2 */gen/ plain
30 mag1 */mago/ river
31 5 */bixu/ moth
32 gya6 */gea/ song
33 fus2 */fus/ panda
34 žàñ1 */žañči/ pearl
35 bam1 */bami/ tower
36 5 */toğe/ seed
37 čib1 */čiba/ tiger

So...Now What?

As previously mentioned, a name is comprised of one group 1 word followed by one group 2 word followed by one group 3 word. As you can imagine, this allows for a far larger number of names than if each word individually were used as a name. The total number of possible names is (20 × 11 × 37) = 8,140. That's not too bad. So here's an example name:

  • Group 1: pul3, "white, bright"
  • Group 2: phel1, "morning"
  • Group 3: phil3, "flower"

Pul3 Phel1 Phil3, White Morning Flower

I chose this name on purpose because it's pretty lame (or neat, depending on how much you like labials and liquids). Anyway, that's basically how the naming system works.

Or is it...?!


Three Problems with the Naming System

As mentioned, there are 8,140 possible names. Some of them, though, are incredibly lame, or just nonsensical. Here are some examples:

  • Led15 Lom3, "Loud Daytime Moon"
  • Ön6 Fiž15, "Endless Northern Moth"
  • Šán6 Taš1 Jub3, "Secret Autumn Dust"
  • Xas1 Van2 Čhèn1, "Quick Nighttime Land"
  • Án6 Vay6 Phun1, "Red Summer Snow"

Now, true, we can take a look at these names in the safety and comfort of our homes and/or offices and have a hearty chuckle, but, folks, I'm not kidding when I say, in all honesty, beware the Endless Northern Moth.

Another problem is the possibility of duplicate names. True, with 8,140 possibilities it's unlikely that you'll run into your doppelgänger, but, come on, what parent is going to name their child First Western Dust when they could name them Silver Morning Mist? There's just no contest. As a result, there may be quite a few Silver Morning Mists out there. Probably a lot of White Winter Snows, as well. And Loud Summer Pandas? Don't even get me started!

Finally, these three word names are single names. That is, you don't call someone by one of them: You call them by all three. For their given name (family names are different). Saying Kip1 Xem3 Ğeš1 (Short Eastern Stone) over and over again (note the codas and the tones, which don't change) can get quite tiresome.

So those are three problems with the naming system. Note that when I say "problems", I mean "made-up problems", in that I'm making up the fact that these are problems. They don't need to be problems, of course. I simply desire them to be so. Thus, I have willed these problems into existence—much like everything else on this site. Read on to see what I did with them.


Nicknames

As one might guess, nicknames abound in the land of Sheli names. Unlike English, though, where "Jack" can be a nickname for "John", Sheli nicknames are somewhat principled. That is, there are several nickname strategies which are employed in a principled way to form a nickname from a full Sheli name. In order to get you up to speed, though, a couple things must be noted. First, in order to make the nicknames possible, a full Sheli name must (in many cases) be freed from the bonds of its nucleus and coda. So, if you take a name like Pul3 Phel1 Phil3, the result is p-ph-pha kind of triconsonantal root, if you're familiar with Arabic or Megdevi. Second, the tone sandhi rules now apply. (When pronounced properly, the proper tone of each word in a full name should be pronounced.)

Now, then, here's the list of nickname strategies used in Sheli. Some are more common than others; some have specific meanings attached to them. All of them can be used for any name, though, unless otherwise specified.

  1. Basic Nickname Strategy I: For this strategy, you take the first (C)V sequence of the first two words and the entire last word and combine them into a single word. So, Án6 Vay6 Lom3, "Red Summer Moon", would become Á6va2lom3. This is just a basic nickname and has no special meaning associated with it.

  2. Basic Nickname Strategy II: This is the same as the above strategy, only the final consonant is deleted. So, Án6 Vay6 Lom3, "Red Summer Moon", would instead become Á6va2lo3.

  3. Basic Nickname Strategy III: The initial consonant is taken from each word and followed with the vowel a. The tones are changed to 1-2-3. So, Dow6 Med3 Čhas2, "First Spring Rain", would become Da1ma2čha3 (or Da1ma2ša3). This strategy cannot be used when one of the following conditions holds: (a) One name begins with a vowel; (b) all consonants share the same place of articulation (so no *Pa1pha2pha3); or (c) one of the names begins with a complex onset (i.e., Cw or Cy).

  4. Diminutive I: For this strategy, you take the first (C)V sequence of the first word, and then the onsets of the next to. To the onsets of the next two, you add the vowel i. The tones are changed to 2-1-2. So, Dow6 Phel1 Jed1, "First Morning Star", would become Do2phi1ji2 (or Do2fi1ji2). This name is a kind of diminutive, along the lines of "Davey" for "Dave". It can't be used with words that have a complex onset, or words that have a glide for an onset.

  5. Diminutive II: This is another type of diminutive. For this type, you keep the (C)V of the first word, and then add e after the onsets of the other two words, and the tones are 2-1-2. So, Ef3 Gul3 Mag1, "Long Western River", would become E2ge1me2.

  6. Diminutive III: This is another type of diminutive. For this type, the vowels are o-e-o, and the tones are 2-1-2. So, Žis2 Thaš1 Dàm3, "Gold Autumn Tree", would become Žo2the1do2 (or Žo2se1do2). This diminutive can't be used when the first word begins with a vowel.

  7. Masculine I: Sheli names are unisex, so this type of nickname is used to make a name masculine. For this type, you keep the (C)V of the first word, and then add a after the onset of the second word, and ó after the onset of the third word. The tones are 3-4-6. So, Ön6 Xem3 Váy5, "Endless Eastern Sky", would become Ö3xa46.

  8. Masculine II: This is another type of specifically masculine nickname. For this type, you add u after the initial C of the first word, then add o after the onset of the second word, and á after the onset of the third word. The tones are 3-4-6. So, Čhin2 Tul3 Lom3, "Silver Winter Moon", would become Čhu3to46. This type of nickname can't be used when the first word begins with a vowel.

  9. Feminine I: Sheli names are unisex, so this type of nickname is used to make a name feminine. For this type, you keep the (C)V of the first word, but the vowel is lengthened. Then you add i after the onset of the second word, and a after the onset of the third word. The tones are 5-3-2. So, Bot1 Med3 Phil3, "Good Spring Flower", would become 5mi3pha2 (or 5mi3fa2).

  10. Feminine II: This is another type of specifically feminine nickname. For this type, you add ú after the initial C of the first word, then add i after the onset of the second word, and a after the onset of the third word. The tones are 5-3-2. So, Žun2 Fiž1 Bam1, "Large Northern Tower", would become Žú5fi3ba2. This type of nickname can't be used when the first word begins with a vowel.

  11. Augmentative: This nickname is used just when one is calling out to someone, or while playing sports, on the mighty field of bloody battle, etc. For this type, you keep the (C)V of the first word as well as the CV of the second word, but you shorten the vowels if they're long (or lengthen both for extra emphasis). For the third word, you keep the onset, and change the vowel to û (or to ó if the onset contains a glide). The tones are 4-4-1. So, Zán6 Tul3 Phun1, "Quiet Winter Snow", would become Za4tu4phû1 (or Za4tu41). Conversely, Ef35 Gya6, "Long Daytime Song", would become E44gyó1. [Note: This name breaks the sandhi rules. It, however, is a name that one only uses in special circumstances, so the judges will allow it.]

These, then, are the officially licensed and sanctioned nicknames of Sheli. They're quite common, and extremely contagious. Handle with care.


Random Sheli Name Generation

In the market for a new name? Use the button below to generate a random name for yourself! For easy reference, you can jump back to the group 1, group 2 and group 3 name lists to see what the name means. Or, if you're lazy like me, who doesn't want to change something he's written previously, you can simply look directly below the Sheli version of the name for an English translation. [Note: This apparently doesn't work with Firefox, which troubles me greatly... Any ideas, tech people...?]

 
 
 

   
 
 

   
 
 

Yay for random name generators! Now, if I were a smart businessman, this clicky little button would be followed by a whole slew of products featuring your new name: mugs, mouse pads, t-shirts, tire irons, personalized checks, stationary, those new trendy wrist band thingies (yes, I have one), eyeglasses repair kits, etc. But, irregretably, I am not a smart businessman (if you're treating "business" as an adjective, either scope works). Instead, I'll entreat you to go ahead and go back and come up with some nicknames. It's free and life-affirming.

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This page was last modified on Tuesday, November 23, 2010.
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