High Society, Naming Conventions, and Second-Hand Dresses 5

This week is a short little chapter in Second-Hand Dresses which forces Lily to make a decision about her future. The path she chooses will color the events in the near future and eventually her fate.

High Society

I'm still working out how Tarsan High Society works. It is very much a patriarchy where a woman's worth is mostly based on the man she married and her physical appearance. I don't personally agree with this approach, but it is the society I'm creating and because it contrasts greatly with the more egalitarian views of the desert.

The entire point of the kudame is to cast off the undesirable (read older) women from society. If Lily becomes officially a kudame, then she also loses her right to call herself a Society woman. That also means she loses certain rights when it comes to influencing the family's direction (not that she has any, but it's a principle), participating in their events, and also more intangible items such as her credit worthiness or stock from suppliers.

Getting into High Society works much the same way. The husband paves the way by merit or favors. Along the way, he brings his entire family along to give them access to those benefits.

The mother kept fingering her wedding bracelet. The yellow gold had been polished to a shine, no doubt to show off the small insignia of her husband's new rank: Knight of Kasin.

Naming Conventions

You may have noticed that names can be somewhat long in Tarsan. For example, the main character is Lily dea Kasin. The first part is the given name, someone's first name. The rest is a family name. A couple is married under the auspices of a single family. This is the binding (lazlaha) for their relationship and typically is the family of one or both of the couple.

  • de name (the husband's family)
  • da name (the wife's family)
  • dea name (both the husband and wife's family)

The minority side will use the “n-” prefix.

  • ne name (the husband's family)
  • na name (the wife's family)
  • nea name (the very infrequently used for adoption)

These are combined together with the primary family first and the secondary one last.

  • Lily dea Kasin
  • Marigold de Kasin na Maifir
  • Relik da Martin ne Golid

Of course, that is a lot to say. Like in the desert culture, the “full name” is considered the formal one. There are two countries that are big on formality, so naturally those are the two which I started with.

In more informal situations, you'll see a shortening of the name as appropriate. Since many of the people in town are Kasin (because of resonance, groups tend to stick together), the “de Kasin” or “da Kasin” is implied.

  • Marigold na Maifir

Lily would always be “dea Kasin” in this case because her mother and father are both from the Kasin family.

In the above example, Marigold is rather stuck up so she would be offended by being called by that name.

For outsiders, at minimum the “d-” is used to emphasize they are not “family”. In this case, the full name would be to ram that point home, but it is still formal.

  • Relik da Martin

Children, on the other hand, are considered to be from the primary parent's family, so they only use their primary name. This is the family that “claims” the child. Because Lily is unmarried, she would also only have a “d-” if she didn't have parents from the same family.

  • Nirih de Kasin

As a side note, the next country over uses similiar rules but they remove the particles for the gender.

  • Marigold Kasin-Maifir
  • Lily Kasin
  • Relik Martin-Golid
  • Mindil Kasin-Pavin

These hyphenated names were the inspiration for the naming conventions of Tarsan. They came from the Spanish conventions where someone's last name may include both family names as a two-part name. It eventually migrated to the dashes and later into the particles as a more cumbersome and ritualistic approach. Gepaul is a diminution of that system which is where I started.

Having the names focused on family also helped establish the culture. Tarsan is about family. In specific, one family over the other. That is the foundation of the country, back when the seven “grand families” made a truce to band together and it propagates through how they view the world, their society, and even their culture.

Second-Hand Dresses 5: Decisions

Knowing that she is going to be officially a kudame (spinster) in a few months, Lily has to make a decision of how to gracefully step out of the light in High Society while juggling a relatively busy business.

Read the chapter at https://fedran.com/second-hand-dresses/chapter-05/.


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