Friday, November 20, 2015

A Naming Practice in Sargaĺk and Northernmost Ćwarmin

In Sargaĺk culture, and therefore also in northernmost Ćwarmin, which essentially are communities that have changed language to Ćwarmin over time, a slightly exceptional naming practice exists. A person only gets his proper name at some age, which differs from village to village. Before that age, the name the person carries is simply determined by the ordinal number of his birth in the village. The sequence in a few of the Sargaĺk villages is this, with two additional names of some use:
Mek'na, Sitro, Duta, K'anti, Pergo, Virka, Yege
Tikt'e is a special name for children from non-Sargaĺk areas
Kemratsa, a word meaning 'from elsewhere' can be used with Sargaĺk children whose name does not align with the village's name sequence
Unlike adult names, these are gender-neutral, and a child is referred to by the masculine pronoun until the adult name has been established. In most of the northernmost Ćwarmin villages, these still retain Sargaĺk morphology. An important thing to note is that in villages where the age for getting one's proper name is relatively low, the child names may lack a pegative form, because children are not assumed to be able to contribute in any way. In the unusual situation where a child does contribute - as in the stories about certain miracular figures in Dairwueh religions - the anti-passive is used. 

In other villages, however, kids may go without adult names until their teenage years. In such villages, pegative forms are more common.

The larger a village is, the longer the sequence tends to be. There may also be family exceptions: a clan that has had several kids of the same name that have died as children may ask that the child's first name be taken one step ahead in the series - which affects the entire village's "position" in the sequence. Not all villages permit this, though, and for those who hold this superstition, such a name might be a source of great anguish.

The longest sequence is about twenty names long. A closely related thing is the generalized incest taboo whereby children of the same name are considered, in some sense, siblings. Thus in some villages, two children of the same child-name cannot marry later in life. However, in many villages, one is expected to focus charitable efforts onto those who had the same child-name.

Some villages and clans have some other name-related superstitions: some name might be considered very lucky, and a child by that name from a parent of the same child-name may be considered especially suitable to be clan or village leader.

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