Much of Vilani culture was drastically affected by the conquest of the Vilani empire by the Rule of Man. Some traditions were banned, others fell out of use, still others were preserved, but only privately (cf the Jewish traditions of many Spanish and Portuguese Christians - those who are called "hidden Jews", "crypto-Jews", "Conversos", or "Marranos"). Traditional Vilani naming practices have largely been relegated to the second and third classes, although under the Third Imperium, there have been occasional movements to 'restore' the traditional practices.
Normally, a Vilani name is given in two or occasionally three parts: Eneri Lenruli, Eshi Kaagira Samiibukun, et cetera, similar to most of the dominant Solomani cultures. In reality, there are five components to a Vilani name:
The first component is the personal name, corresponding to the personal or given name in most Solomani traditions. This name is what is used in routine informal address, and may itself be shortened or modified into what most Anglic-speakers would call a "nickname" for use in extremely informal contexts. Common Vilani names used for this component (and their most common modifications) include:
|Ganimakkur (Gani, Ganim)
Approximately 15% of all Vilani bear one of these names.
There are also a number of Terran names that have become popular on Vland; these have generally been Vilanicized as shown (N.B. There are no errors below; some names have crossed gender in crossing culture):
Approximately 3% of all Vilani bear one of these names, or a Vilanicization of some other non-Vilani name. Among assimilated Vilani (those who are not Vilani by birth, but who have adopted Vilani culture), this type of name can be found approximately 7% of the time.
The second component, if it exists, is also a personal name, called the 'attributive' name. This name is generally derived either from the personal name (first component) of an honored relative (usually, but not invariably, deceased) or from a person, an animal, or a thing that possesses, exemplifies, or symbolizes some desirable quality of personality. This corresponds to the "middle name" or "confirmation name" in most Solomani European traditions, although comparisons with 'nicknames' or 'bynames' are not unknown. This component may be changed at will by the bearer, although such changes are usually made only on "watershed" occasions (e.g., enlistment or mustering-out from military service, after a significant military action or business or athletic success, upon marriage, graduation from university, or other significant accomplishment); it is also not unknown for a component of this class to be bestowed on a person by companions (compare the "earning" of a nickname, TAC-code, or "warname" in some military and paramilitary organizations). This component of the name is traditionally Vilani, but need not be if the bearer wishes otherwise.
The third component, the 'social' name, indicates what most Solomani would think of as "ethnicity". It is most often taken from the name of the location where the Vilani's clan originated, and roughly one-quarter of the Vland-originating names will designate one of the post-Ancient/pre-Historic 'safe' areas in the mountainous regions of Vland (the rest indicate significant early settlements on other continents during the Vilani Age of Expansion/Exploration). This name is generally associated with identifiable physical characteristics (as when a Solomani "looks Italian", for example), and is generally not used except in those contexts of the utmost formality. Assimilated Vilani generally use the name of their home planet, transliterated according to Vilani practice, for this component.
The fourth component is a family or clan name. The distinction between "family" and "clan" is not as clear-cut in Vilani tradition as in Terran traditions; as a great deal of mutual support was needed for survival on ancient Vland, extended families staying together became the norm. This is used in the same context as a "family name" or "last name" in the most common Solomani conventions. Family/clan names are never occupational; this usage is the fifth component. There are several hundred thousand clan/family names recorded.
The fifth component is derived from the caste that the person is a member of. In some senses, this corresponds to occupational surnames in Solomani European traditions; in other ways, it corresponds to a rank or title. This component is not added to the name until maturity, when the caste is selected; it is modified over time to show relative experience or knowledge, although the root does not change.
In most contexts, a Vilani's name will be given as his personal name, optionally followed by his 'attributive' name, followed by his family/clan name; friends and family will call him by his personal name or a modification; comrades-in-arms will call him by his personal or attributive names. In business, if the name is given in one of these forms, the Vilani will generally be addressed by his family/clan name, with an appropriate title (e.g., "Mr", "Mrs", the Vilani equivalents, etc.) preceding it. On occasion, in a business context, the Vilani will give his family/clan name followed by his caste name/title; in such a case, it is proper to address him in exactly that manner, with no additional titles.
If the Vilani is is receiving formal honors (such as recognition from the Emperor), his full name, omitting the 'attributive' component, would be used.
Example: The Vilani's full name is
Ganimakkur Eneri Irkirin Managudeli Shugilamar
His friends and family will generally call him "Ganimakkur" or "Ganim". Those who know how and why he came to take the attributive name of Eneri might, on the rare appropriate occasions, call him "Eneri".
His ancestry is from the Vilani minor continent of Irka Ir, which was settled relatively early in the Vilani Age of Exploration.
When he served in the Navy, his shipmates gave him the name "Cookie" when he proved especially adept at Solomani-style food preparation, and would call him that as often as they did "Gani". He changed to "Eneri", after a respected superior who died in action, upon mustering out.
He would probably introduce himself to most non-Vilani as "Ganimakkur Managudeli".
A (Solomani) business contact would call him "Mr Managudeli", unless Gani has given his name as "Managudeli Shugilamar", in which case he would be addressed in full in that manner.
He would probably give his name as "Managudeli Shugilamar" to a Vilani business associate, and would be called that way by them.
When his military record catches up with him, and it comes to the Emperor's notice that he should be knighted for his actions in saving an entire squadron of Imperial Navy ships from certain destruction, the letters-patent would award the knighthood to "Ganimakkur Irkirin Managudeli Shugilamar".