Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present): - Household Designators -
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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna, Lillia de Vaux, and Alys Mackyntoich

- Household Designators -

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October 2013 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

This week I was asked why we can't mix and match household name patterns: that is, combine designators from one pattern and substantive elements from another.

Let's start with the rules. SENA says:

The designators for household names must be documented as a form describing a group of people in a particular culture. It must be compatible with the substantive element in terms of content and style. There is no standard designator which is considered compatible with all types of names for groups of people.

Several kinds of groups of people have served as models for household names. They include a noble household, a military unit, a guild, a group of people associated with an inn or tenement house, a university or school (noting that the word college is reserved for branches), clans, and an organized group of musicians or actors. Designators may be registered in the original language or may take the lingua Anglica form. Suitable substantive elements (like simple descriptions) may take the lingua Anglica form as well.

So, essentially what this says is that a household name can follow pretty much any pattern for a group of people or for patterns for places that hold a group of people, like an inn, dormitory, or abbey. But each of these kinds of household names follows different models, and the entire household name has to follow a single model.

The reason we allow multiple designators for household names, instead of requiring all to use a single designator like house, is to allow for better recreation. Thus, submitters can create household groups that follow models of religious groups, groups of scholars, or military groups, as well as a group of people associated with a noble house. However, that same logic demands that we require the names of households to be internally consistent. You cannot name a household X Abbey but use a model from a brothel to create the rest of the name (no, I don't know models for the names of period brothels). You cannot name a household using a designator for a military company but use a model from a college to create the rest of the name.

Now, we do allow household names, both the designator and the substantive element, to be translated into English using the lingua Anglica allowance: the French l'ostel du B{oe}uf couronné may be registered as House of the Crowned Bull or the German Gesellschaft im Fisch und Falckhen may be registered as the Society of the Fish and Falcon. As with other uses of the lingua Anglica allowance, names may be translated to make them as comprehensible to English speakers as they would be to the speakers of the original language (French, Italian, Old Norse, and the like). Remember that this does not allow the translation of the meanings of personal names or place names; personal names must stay in their original forms, while place names may use their standard modern English form.

Branch names follow a slightly different rule, in part because we require branches to use specific designators which can change as a branch's status changes. We allow any type of branch to use the name of a place of essentially any size, from a small village to a large city or region. Alternately, we allow branches to use a model suitable to their particular designator. This mostly affects colleges and other specialized branches that are unlikely to change type; however, we allow them to change type of branch as well.

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