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Naming & Nicknaming Conventions in Equestria


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It wouldn't be surprising if I'm the only one who cares about this because of my little writer heart, but I've always liked to look into mannerisms of speaking of characters, and I think it says a lot about how characters feel each other depending on what they call each other. It bothers me, probably more than it should, when I read a fic where a character calls the other character by a part of their name/nickname that they've never called them before.

Pony names are special because their naming convention is...strange. "Rainbow Dash"? Is Dash her last name, or her first? And what about "Fluttershy"?

I was combing through some episodes to figure out what Rainbow and Scootaloo call each other. I know for a fact Twilight just calls Rainbow by, well, 'Rainbow' a good majority of the time. Interestingly, though, Scootaloo calls Rainbow by 'Rainbow Dash' nearly every appearance I've looked at. I'm not done yet, but the notable episodes I've combed through are "Sleepless in Ponyville" and "Parental Glideance". Also, Applejack calls Rainbow by her full name in that, but I know she's also referred to her as both 'Rainbow' and 'Dash' individually.

(Also, 'Scoots' is canon... Sort of. Rainbow calls Scootaloo 'Scoot' in "Sleepless in Ponyville". Generally, though, she calls her by her full name and/or 'kid'. idr how much she uses 'squirt' but she hasn't in the episodes I've looked at so far.)

(Also, remember when people thought 'Apple Jack' was two words? Good times.)

So what do you guys think? Sorry, this post is pretty disorganized, but I'm basically wondering if other people are interested in this sort of thing, and what you think dictates what other characters call each other. I'll share more things I find along the way.

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2 minutes ago, pyrotermania said:

Hmm. I don't really know some people call twilight by her full name. Or they call her just twilight. Shining armor calls her twily.

I know that Rarity has actually called Twilight “Twilight Sparkle” at least a few times. I haven’t kept track of whether she calls her that every time but I know that she has definitely done it before. 

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Rainbow for sure calls Twilight 'Twilight' every time. No I totally don't know that because I'm a total TwiDash nerd

Interestingly, I don't think any character has called her Sparkle unless it was derogatory in some way.

Another interesting thing - while Scootaloo always calls Rainbow by her full name, she doesn't do the same for her parents.

Scootaloo: Bow and Windy, I'd like you to meet Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle.

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I thought of that for a bit, as well.

If Fluttershy's parents are Mr. and Mrs. Shy, then is her full name Fluttershy Shy? Or is her first name just Flutter? 

What's Rarity's last name? Is it Belle, since her sister's name is Sweetie Belle?

What is the Apple Family's surname? If I had to guess, it is either Apple or Smith. 

Etc.

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I like thinking about this stuff.  Naming conventions in Equestria are strange and interesting.  Some make sense.  Others, not so much.  Names that actually describe the character's personality, (E.G. Fluttershy), wouldn't make sense unless given later on in their life.  For this reason, I've postulated that certain parts of Equestria may use Native American naming conventions (E.g. Dances With Wolves, Ten Bears, Wind in His Hair, Stands With a Fist, etc.) 

Some families seem to have family names, but they don't seem to hold true with any logic or consistency for the whole family.  For instance, the Apples are definitely the Apples, but not every Apple has the word "Apple" in their name.  So....Apple is more like...a bloodline type of thing?  And then there's the Shys.  That one is weird.  Like @ChB mentioned, Shy seems to be the family name, so how does that work with Fluttershy?  And if Shy is the family name, then why isn't Zephyr called Zephyr Shy?  And how about Twilight?  I once assumed that Sparkle is the family name, but she's the only one who has it.  If anything, Twilight is the family name, but then again T-Sparks was probably just named after her mother.

Many ponies' names are just their cutie marks (Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon), which again makes no sense if they were named at birth.  How would their parents know what their mark would be?  And what kind of sick, twisted parents would name their kid something terrible, like Neighsayer?  That's rather cruel.  I gotta think they're either nicknames or it's a Native American naming convention.  And how about Luna and Celestia?  That's a really big coincidence.  Maybe those aren't their birth names....  That'd be a mindblower.

2 hours ago, Wolfhog said:

It bothers me, probably more than it should, when I read a fic where a character calls the other character by a part of their name/nickname that they've never called them before.

Really?  I love that kind of stuff.  Well, perhaps it's different in a fic that's not canon, I suppose.  But on shows, I absolutely love it when characters call each other nicknames and little pieces of their names like that.  It's a sign of affection and familiarity.  It's like on Andy Griffith when Barney would sometimes call Andy "Ange".  I love that.  And how Jack Black would call Kyle Gass "KG", and then "Cage", and then "Rage Cage", and finally just "Rage".  Love it.  Or Andy and the Tuna on The Office.  I just love nicknames.

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2 minutes ago, Justin_Case001 said:

Really?  I love that kind of stuff.  Well, perhaps it's different in a fic that's not canon, I suppose.  But on shows, I absolutely love it when characters call each other nicknames and little pieces of their names like that.  It's a sign of affection and familiarity.  It's like on Andy Griffith when Barney would sometimes call Andy "Ange".  I love that.  And how Jack Black would call Kyle Gass "KG", and then "Cage", and then "Rage Cage", and finally just "Rage".  Love it.  Or Andy and the Tuna on The Office.  I just love nicknames.

Oh, I like nicknames, don't me wrong, but it feels really strange when people force it in to their fics. Then again, I guess it depends on the nickname. If it's a character I can sincerely see would nickname people, I let it pass, but for those who don't it's out of place. There's also something that occurs a lot in misattributing nicknames one character gave to another (an example of this would be Sonic calling Shadow "Faker" first and most often, but the fanon likes to make it out like Shadow was the one who gave Sonic the nickname), and it kind of takes away from the original significance the nickname had.

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@Scootaloved @kaiser5578

Guys, guys, Guys. It's been proven in episodes like "The Perfect Pear" and "Where the Apple Lies" that a pony can change their names to something else, due to marriage or because they really like the nickname. Equestria and the entire realm it's in is not like Earth and has a freedom to this kind of naming convention.

My point: just let the naming conventions of this fantasy world be its own naming conventions, and don't restrict it by the rules OUR world works with.

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2 minutes ago, We. said:

@Scootaloved @kaiser5578

Guys, guys, Guys. It's been proven in episodes like "The Perfect Pear" and "Where the Apple Lies" that a pony can change their names to something else, due to marriage or because they really like the nickname. Equestria and the entire realm it's in is not like Earth and has a freedom to this kind of naming convention.

My point: just let the naming conventions of this fantasy world be its own naming conventions, and don't restrict it by the rules OUR world works with.

*gears in head slowly turn* what? *gears click* oh... Other worlds would have different methods

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25 minutes ago, We. said:

@Scootaloved @kaiser5578

Guys, guys, Guys. It's been proven in episodes like "The Perfect Pear" and "Where the Apple Lies" that a pony can change their names to something else, due to marriage or because they really like the nickname. Equestria and the entire realm it's in is not like Earth and has a freedom to this kind of naming convention.

My point: just let the naming conventions of this fantasy world be its own naming conventions, and don't restrict it by the rules OUR world works with.

I mean, it's pretty clear it's not our world's naming conventions - that's why I started the topic in the first place. I'm interested in how it works.

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What about Mr and Mrs Cake? Presumably she took his name when they married. What was she before? Her cutie mark is cup cakes. Are their children destined to have cake cutie marks?

No, because Pinkie Pie has nothing to do with rocks. But it seems that Pie is, in fact, a family name, like Maud Pie. Why aren't their names Rock? 

So ponies can have family names, but often do not go by them, or at least we don't hear them in the show. It must also be true that a pony can change their name, otherwise, as has been said, it would be an amazing coincidences that they have cutie marks that match their names.

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7 minutes ago, BronyNumber42licious said:

What about Mr and Mrs Cake? Presumably she took his name when they married. What was she before? Her cutie mark is cup cakes. Are their children destined to have cake cutie marks?.

You never saw the the episode "The Perfect Pear"? She very clearly told us her old name and how she got her cutie mark because of Applejack's Mother.

Basically the first minute answers the first few questions. As for her children, they're still very young so anything is possible.

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