Names are important. They are a part of a persons identity, a part of who they are. This is true for all beings, but it is perhaps most important among the elves, especially the original elves. In the culture they came from no two elves shared the same name and no name was ever reused should its bearer die.
Naturally, due to the limited numbers of letters and sounds their names were often very long. An interesting consequence of this is of any two original elves it is generally safe to assume that the one with the shorter name is the older one.
Ancestral Names - First and Second GenerationEdit
The original elves preferred soft consonants and diphtongs, leading to their names often being melodic. Examples of such names are Aluvyandynemiel, Eimendyranolia, Haliundelriemnoan and Angmeinovniel.
The original elves kept with this habit when they named their first auan offspring, and their offspring in turn stuck to it as well. Hence why the first and second generation of auan elves have the same style of names, only even longer; names with up to nine or ten syllables aren't uncommon among these elves.
Children of a New World - Third and Fourth GenerationEdit
After this something changed. The second generation of elves noticed how different they were, both from the original elves and from their first generation parents. As a reaction to this the third generation of elves were given names that tied in to the world they were living him. This was as a statement that this was their home and that their past was left behind them. Some elves still stuck with the old way of naming but the majority embraced the new ideas and by the fourth generation the old style of naming was almost completely gone.
Newborn elves of those generation were given the names of plants and animals of the world they lived in. The idea that no two elves should share the same name still lived on though and composite names became first common and then a necessity. Examples of names from this era are Marigold-Rosemary, Ursus-Blueberry, Oxen-Wheat-Summerbreeze and Amber-Oak.
The popularity of this type of name soon dropped with many elves fearing that names would soon become nothing but long lists plants and animals. It is also around this time that the elves became wide-spread enough that it was no longer possible to assure the uniqueness of a name. To counteract this many elves started giving their children surnames, something previously unheard of among elves. This further marked how far removed from their ancestors the auan elves had become.
Traditional Elven Names - Fifth to Fifteenth GenerationEdit
At the time of the fifth generation, some two thousand years after the original elves arrived, about half of the elven newborn were given surnames and by the seventh generation it was the de-facto practice. Rather than keeping the long double and triple names they bore themselves elven parents started giving their children shorter versions of the names used by their ancestors. Examples of names given to young elves during this time are Aluviendel, Endyrian, Memmiel and Halumnion. The surnames were mostly one of or all the names of the parents. The full name of an elf from that era could be something like Memmiel Ursus-Blueberry Amber-Oak.
This type of naming dominated for several generations, but eventually parts of the long surnames started getting dropped in favour of shorter surnames and perhaps a middle-name or two. Using the above examples a typical name for a thirteenth or fourteenth generation elf would be along the lines of Memmiel Yranoa Amber-Oak.
Cycle of Naming ConventionsEdit
+++ This may get changed a little bit, pondering whether or not to add one or two more stages +++
This is largely the way elven naming has worked since then; a first name followed by one to three middle names and finally a surname or family name. The popularity of the style of first an middle names vary between generations though. Scholars who have studied elven names have identified a cycle where names in the style of the original elves are popular for a few generations after which names from the third and fourth generation gain in popularity. After this the shortened versions of the original names become popular again. Eventually these names start becoming longer until fully fledged ten-syllable traditional-style elven names are all the rage once more.
This cycle seems to be roughly the same independent of location and is happening all over the known world at the same time and at the same pace. A few deviations from the cycle have been verified but they have not been wide-spread and have passed with relative speed.