Names of the OnKitabie
One of the most important values to the OnKitabie is the agency of the individual. Each person is the author of their own story, the writer of their own book, and so should have the power to control their own destiny. This is reflected in their style of naming. Names consist of a first name and a surname, and some distinguished individuals are further given an epitaph to describe their accomplishments.
All are given first names at birth, each of which is unique. Since each person should have their own story to tell, they should not have a name which references or honors another person, as that ties their story to someone else’s destiny. As such, each name is constructed as a set of sounds which holds no meaning to the namer (meaning no words or other names). Of course repeats will occasionally happen, since there isn’t an organized list of names already taken up. However, people will absolutely never be named after famous figures such as religious figures, chieftains, and Kjalit Miktabit. So for example, Tajani OnMaqibn was given the name Tajani by her family when born not because that was an established name, but because it wasn’t. The act of creating names is a very time consuming one, as families want to ensure that the name is likable, memorable, and more importantly pronounceable. There is a (most certainly fictional) children’s tale in the Miktaban that tells of a child born to an illiterate family who was named “Zkhsbimf”, because their parents chose the letters of their name randomly. It was designed to scare families into literacy, but it highlights the extreme of this system. Today, especially in developed urban areas such as Sha-Mikat, there are several professional “namers”, who spend their days designing names that families can employ to aid them in naming.
That said, in the spirit of self-fulfillment, some OnKitabie opt to change their name upon reaching adulthood, should they decide that they don’t like the phonetics of their name, or else think it doesn’t fit them well. This is simply a matter of deciding on a new name and notifying the local administrative scribes so that the census may be updated. Changing your name to a name already owned by another person, or even to an actual word in the language, is not really illegal, but highly frowned upon and will likely make one the laughing stock of the community, so it is rarely done.
As for surnames, two methods are employed. Historically, OnKitabie have lived a very divided, clan-focused life. Surnames were passed down through your clan and you kept it your life, passing it down to your children as well. It was a very visible mark of allegiance, and tied you to your ancestry. For example, Jamitayyin Bkhanif is the chieftain of the Bkhanif clan; his surname signifies his family and heritage. However, one of the founding tenets of the Miktaban was the rejection of clans. Its founding members, coming from many different clans themselves, all gave up their clan surnames and devised a new system, which is the one widely used in the Miktaban today. When one is educated, they take up the name of their tutor as their surname. Returning to Tajani OnMaqibn, she was mentored by Maqibn OnQalis, who was mentored by Qalis OnMemin, and so on. The On- prefix is attached as it signifies “taught by”. In the Miktaban, this is the commonly used practice. Even people not truly considered educated, most took up an apprenticeship at some point, which would lead them to take their master’s name. And for those that didn’t, they will usually use one of their parent’s or grandparent’s names, as they were taught by them as well.
The whole purpose of naming in OnKitabie society is to give the individual a unique description that gives them the agency to live their life to its fullest potential as an adult.