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Old December 5 2012, 10:58 AM   #66
Re: Aliens with one name vs. aliens with two names

I don't know about the novels, but Chakotay is human and he only uses one name.
Diane Carey's novels have this anti-Mary-Sue character (you know, the one who screws up everything, gets rescued by all the three main heroes in turn, and gets to bed none of them) named Piper, and nothing but Piper; the rationale she (that is, both Piper and Ms Carey) gives is that the small colony she comes from doesn't warrant more.

Surnames exist for the sake of clarity, to tell people apart (that is, to tell them together). If you have a whole planetful of Vulcans, you do need a means to tell apart T'Pau from the high Gols and T'Pau from the Tearflesh Wind Valley. Or then you need a good imagination and an extensive alphabet before you run out of single syllables to place after the T', or of five-letter permutations of S***k. But if you only have a small colony, you can make do with Piper, or "Busty", or Hey You.

But isn't Chuckles supposed to be from one of those Amer-Ind Colonies near the DMZ? It would not surprise me if they decided to throw out alot of the conventions that their ancestors had adopted from Westerners and returned to something more true to their own traditions.
Or, disgusted with the way things are run back home, invent an all-new tradition that will be theirs and theirs only?

Borg obviously have names and they make logical sense.
...And what sense might that be? Say, why is Third of Five Third of Five, when Seven of Nine isn't Seventh of Nine?

eventually most of the world (as with many things) will adopt a western standard of a given name and surname with the occasional middle name thrown in
Or, for all we know, the Chinese standard. Although that culture does suffer from the same thing old Romans did, that is, too much standardization on names. With a billion people doing things, it's very, very difficult to tell apart the Ho Xing who achieved fame in hydrodynamics from the Ho Xing who achieved fame in parallel bars or the Ho Xing who achieved fame in alliterative poetry...

I for one am sure there will be holdouts. It adds some character to the, well, character. And you can cast a superior smirk at your partner who complains that nineteen European bankers get addressed by their surnames in the Financial Times article, yet the writer seems to be a close buddy of Thor from Iceland.

Timo Saloniemi
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