Classical Gluonic Topic

Personal Names and Family Structure

Keywords: society, names

Personal naming in the Classical language was quite different than Modern Gluonic. Classical Gluonic had a very mathematical and mysticalised naming system  which appears to have been intended for use as people's everyday names, but which gave way over time to the Modern Gluonic system we are familiar with today. However, throughout Gluonic history and up to the present day, the Classical names remained as a system of formal or ritual names that served as a person's fundamental identity for religious purposes long after these names had fallen out of everyday use. Therefore, understanding the Classical personal names retains a degree of relevance to understanding modern Gluonic culture.

Classical Family Structure

In order to understand the Classical naming system, it is important to understand the way the earliest settlers of  Alt-1136 idealised the family, or perhaps more accurately, tried to remake it.

We know relatively little about this era due to a substantial loss of records from this time, and the fact the surviving records appear to uniformly express a certain fervently religious point of view that causes modern secular scholars, both Terrestrial and Gluonic, to distrust their full veracity.

However, we believe the Gluonics came from a single dimension, and that it was an Earth, because Gluonic people are genetically nearly indistinguishable from Terrestrial humans, and are themselves clearly human. However, their legends and ancient records indicate they came from all over their original world, and this is borne out in the enormous genetic diversity of modern Gluonic people - they are easily the most genetically diverse ethnic community on Earth, with an astonishing array of known mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal haplogroups found all over Earth-0001 represented, as well as several with no Terrestrial counterpart.

Which is to say that the original settlers of Alt-1136 were a confederation of individuals and nuclear families, and did not have "natural" tribes or houses.

Another thing to understand about the early colonists is that regardless of what the traditions of their home dimension may have been, they espoused notably patriarchal and male chauvinist world view, that they tied to their mystical beliefs. To go into this in detail is too much of an excursion for this article, but in summary, they associated sex and marriage with the dualities of the fundamental forces of nature, specifically in this case the electromagnetic force. They explicitly referred to the positive charge as the "masculine charge" and the negative charge to the "feminine."

They saw deep evidence of the superiority of the masculine force in the stability of the proton, the most stable baryon of regular matter, which has an overall +1 charge owning to the +2/3 charges of the two up quarks and the -1/3 charge of the one down quark of which it is composed. The asymmetry in charge between the up and down quark was taken as further evidence of the innate superiority of the masculine.

To the Gluonics, marriage was between one man and one woman, or between two men and one woman. The latter was a licit option that was justified based on mystical resonance with the internal structure of the proton, and it is speculated it may actually have been instituted to serve one or a couple of practical purposes.

It is believed from genetic evidence, comparing mitochondrial versus Y-chromosome diversity, that there were likely significantly more male colonists than female colonists, and this exception may have allowed more men to be able to marry in the first generation. As well, it is a known historical fact that it was reasonably common for homosexual men to enter into such an arrangement in order to have heirs and obscure their real primary relationship, and it's possible the inventors of this custom explicitly intended this accommodation.

The reverse arrangement, two women and one man in recollection of the less inherently stable neutron, was not permitted until later in Gluonic history, and there is some debate as to why the rules were originally changed to permit it. Some think that it was instituted to allow wealthy men to marry a second wife. Others think that it may have been instituted to allow homosexual women to mirror the male arrangement to disguise their true relationship and not run afoul of legal and social discrimination against sexual minorities. Historians think that the change in the law coincides with a general trend of amelioration in the status of women, which may support the latter, but there is evidence on both sides of the argument.

Founder Names - "Sacred Families"

We believe we know with a high degree of certainty that there were exactly 46,625 original settlers, or 555,505 in seximal, and we know all of their names, despite the fact that most are paradoxically anonymous to us at the same time. This is a little short of the "venno" or 46,656 original settlers (1,000,000 in seximal) that are claimed according to legend.

The way we know this is that the founding ecclesiastical authorities gave each settler a new name to replace their old name from their old world, to symbolise a clean break with the past. To do this, they arbitrarily divided the population into "sacred families" of exactly 37 members each, and there are exactly 1261 of these families, attested by their family names existing in surviving records. This number is believed to be a full and accurate count by the majority of scholars today. There was one of these families which had only five members, about which more later.

These families were originally intended to function as pods or communes in the initial task of setting up the colony. They were encouraged to live communally together. They often contained people with similar professional backgrounds, or complimentary professional backgrounds for some kind of work on the colony. The authorities put existing nuclear families within the same "sacred family." These were the organising principles at play. Aside from the principle of keeping nuclear families together, the church appears to have tried to avoid grouping people from the same area of their original world together, because from what little evidence we have, these original "sacred families" seem to have been pretty diverse.

Each sacred family was assigned a name, a technically licit word in Classical Gluonic, typically a two syllable word, and seemingly made up out of whole cloth, or consisting of a real word, perhaps reminiscent of a profession, with some kind of nonsense suffix.

Within each family, each person was assigned a personal name, literally a number from 0 to 36. The number 0 (P'EQ) was always assigned to a prominent male, always one with very good religious ideological bona fides, and the number 36 (QO-KU) was always assigned to a prominent female, often his wife. These numbers were unique in the family in that in the Gluonic counting system, they would never be repeated in any members' names. These two then became the patriarch and matriarch of the group respectively, and in the very early days, these individuals actually exercised come practical authority over the lives of their sacred family. The "Sacred Father" and "Sacred Mother" served an important role as acting as the agents of the Church within the group and exerting ecclesiastical authority over the lives of the family's members.

Even today, these numbers P'EQ and QO-KU have cultural associations that can be traced back to this ancient and quickly defunct system.

According to legend, children who were still in their mothers' wombs on arrival in Alt-1136 were considered Founders as well, and places were reserved for them within the founding Sacred Families. If this is true, then the original count of settlers, and the sizes of some of the families, may be off, as some may have possibly failed to be born.

In this first generation, effectively, everyone was given a fully unique name.

The Most Sacred Family

There was one family which was short members, the group with only five. This family, the BE-REN, was reserved for the High Priest, his wife, and their three children. The high Priest was named P'EQ, his wife was QO-KU, and his children were AM, RÚ, and LE-LI, literally, 1, 2, and 3. 

First Offspring Names

After this population of Founders, or Pure Ones, their children conceived on the sacred soil of Alt-1136 were the First Offspring, and they had another different naming convention entirely determined by the ecclesiastic authorities. They were given two surnames, a patronymic from their father and a matronymic from their mother, these being straightforwardly their parents' sacred family names. They were then given a personal name which was a number, starting at 1 rather than 0 this time, so that a person's name was a number representing their birth order followed by their two surnames.

If the parents were of the same sacred family, the child's name would be the name of that family, repeated twice.

As the second and third generation of settlers grew up, Gluonic society shifted away from the communal living of the Sacred Families to more of a nuclear family arrangement, and the evolving ecclesiastical naming convention reflected that fact.

Later Offspring Names

The system of naming for the later offspring, the grandchildren and beyond of the Founders, was also mandated by the ecclesiastical authorities. Later offspring also got two surnames, a patronymic and a matronymic. Boys got their fathers' and mothers' patronymics, and girls got their fathers' and mothers' matronymics, so brothers and sisters in the same family usually had different surnames.

Again, if this system produced a surname which was the same patronymic and matronymic, the name was just repeated twice.


Very early on, perhaps secretly or semi-secretly in the beginning, people also had nicknames, which originally might be used only in very casual, intimate circumstances, but which later came to take over personal naming. Nicknames were often just ordinary words, but sometimes they were nonsense words. Some nicknames became formalised and popular, and there are some which seem to trace back to words which don't look like valid Classical Gluonic words.

These may have come from personal names in the settlers' original languages, and using them might have originally been a dangerous act of rebellion. It is known or believed that some settlers were brought over essentially against their will or soured on their religion after moving to Alt-1136, and the Opposition to the Church is thought to go back right to the colony's founding. This may be reflected in these few surviving names of no obvious Gluonic or recent Terrestrial origin.

Use Example

We will take three common family names, the aforementioned BE-REN family, the SÁQ-GU, and the SWÁ-FI. We will use them to construct a nuclear family to illustrate how the names work. 

The father's personal name will be AM, meaning he was the firstborn of his family, and the mother's name will be LE-LI, meaning she was the third born child in her family. They had three children, first a son, then a daughter, then a son.

From this point forward we will switch to Sanderson romanisation. The Bourque romanisation, while objectively less readable, offers the advantage in this case that it doesn't directly show the colour, so you can see the base, black forms of the names, making the underlying, unchanging identity of the family clearer, so is it was helpful to start with it.

When the father is referred to just by his personal name, ignoring honourifics, which are a different topic altogether, he would be called in the blue just "Omo." The mother's blue name would be "Lolio."

When stating a person's full name, the personal name is the head, and it is placed in the ablative case, to convey that the person belongs to their family. Then the patronymic is stated, and finally the matronymic. In less formal circumstances, and if not needed to disambiguate between two people, the matronymic might be dropped.

Both the patronymic and matronymic are treated as separate words with shine and an inflectional ending. As usual, any clitics such as colour clitics attach to the last element. Let's say the parents' full, blue names are as follows:

Father: Omko Borreno Sooqguho
Mother: Loliko Swoofio Borreno

Therefore, their children's names would be:

Son #1: Omko Borreno Swoofio
Daughter #1: Rruuko Sooqguho Borreno
Son #2: Loliko Borreno Swoofio

The sons use their father's patronymic as their patronymics, and their mother's patronymic as their matronymic. The daughter uses the father's matronymic as her patronymic and the mother's matronymic as her matronymic. Both the sons and daughter have BE-REN in their names because both of their parents have a line of descent to the BE-REN family.

There are very few attested examples of a nickname making it into early writings, but if a nickname were used in a full name, it would replace the birth order personal name but otherwise be used the same way, including being placed in the ablative case.

Edge Cases

Children of Married Thruples

The naming was straight-forward, with the children's surnames coming from the genetic or notional parents. One of the husbands would be legally required to claim each child, and this would be determined through genetic testing if they couldn't choose (this was easier in later man-woman-woman marriages). Personal name numbering in the family would be shared over the entire group, so if one husband claimed the first child, that child would be named AM, and if the other husband claimed the second child, that child would still be named RÚ.

Fatherless Children

A man was not required to claim a child which was not his genetically, or that was born to a woman to whom he was not married. If no other man would adopt the child, that child might be considered fatherless. They would not be entitled to a patronymic, or any parental support from the father. They would have the use their matronymic as their sole surname, and would have to give their matronymic to their sons, considered in early Gluonic culture to be deeply shameful.

In the case where the father dies before being able to formally declare an intention to claim the child, if he were married to the child's mother he would be considered to claim the child automatically, and if he were not married to the child's mother, his father could decide whether or not to claim the child, otherwise the child would be fatherless.

Claiming a child was nonrepudiable, once a child was recognised as yours, even if it should be later discover they were a product of infidelity, they were yours forever. However, genetic testing of children was routine for other reasons, so this would be a highly unusual circumstance.


If a man adopted a "fatherless" child, the child would get his patronymic, and in fact getting adopted was a technique that adult "fatherless" people could use to acquire a patronymic. If an adopted child already had their names, as in the adoption of an older child, they could keep their names or be given new names, usually at the discretion of the adoptive parents and in consideration of the circumstances. In the case of adopting an infant, they would almost always be given the adoptive parents' names and the next available number as their personal name.

Individuals rarely adopted alone without a partner to at minimum provide a second name to avoid the adopted child having the bear the stigma of appearing fatherless, even if the single adoptive parent were a man.

Remarriage or Marriage Expansion

This situation is straight-forward in terms of the assignment of surnames. It would be extremely unusual for a child to be adopted and change their patronymic on the remarriage or additional marriage of a mother, and unheard of on the remarriage of a father. Remarriage and the birth of children to a couple who have children from previous marriages does potentially mess up the numbering scheme for children's personal names. In that case, it's up to the couple (traditionally the father) how to manage it, but tacking on to the end of the father's numbering scheme was a common choice.

Death of a Child

When a child dies and the couple has subsequent children, it was considered good form to retire the dead child's number. However, a minority of grieving parents did reassign the number to children born after the child's passing. We know this because the practice was remarked upon with horror in old documents as an attempt to recapture the deceased child and tremendously unlucky for the successor.


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