Hey, y’all! Curious about names in the shapeshifter community? You’re in luck! Today we have a little interview with The Aunts Who Know Everyone (TM).
We caught the Sterling aunts during their coffee break at La Petite Etoile, the favored diner of Jessup, Oklahoma. (It’s also the only diner in town, but that’s beside the point.) Pull up a chair and make yourself at home!
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions! So let’s get down to it. Can you tell if someone is a shapeshifter just by looking at their name?
ODESSA: Well, not all the time. People get married — shifters and Statics — and names can get changed or tangled up. That said, there are some names out there with shifter roots.
First names, or last names?
EDNA and ELSA: Both!
ELSA: There are a lot of crow shifters here in Jessup. You can see it in the names, too. For example, Crawford comes from the Old English place name ‘crow ford’, and Corbin is from the old French root for ‘corbeau’, which means raven.
TULIA: Mais oui!
ABILENE: Don’t forget Branson. That’s from the old Celtic for ‘son of the raven’.
What about first names? Know any good ones?
ODESSA: Oh, goodness, yes. There are certainly some bird-like first names. Let’s see… Ava…Robin…Wren…Bertram…
TULIA: Is Bertram a bird name?
ODESSA: It’s an Old Germanic name, I believe. Means ‘bright raven’.
TULIA: Well! Today I learned. Pass me those coffee cups, would you, Edna?
[EDNA passes coffee cups, grumbling]: You’re going to make them think our whole town is nothing but crow shifters.
TULIA: Not the whole town, obviously. We change into starlings, of course.
Which reminds me. Is Sterling a traditional shifter name?
TULIA: Sterling is an old Scottish name, but I don’t know that it originally came from shapeshifters. I think starling shifters borrowed it because it was so similar to the bird name.
ELSA: It’s an old name, at any rate.
What about other kinds of shapeshifters? Do they have traditional names, too?
ABILENE [nodding]: Lots of wolf names. Hank Farkas says his last name means ‘wolf’. Hungarian, I think.
TULIA: Did you know they have a similar way of doing it in Spanish, too?
ELSA [stirring sugar into her coffee]: Do they really?
TULIA: Like López, for instance. Goes all the way back to the Latin lupus, for wolf.
So the last names basically indicate a person’s other shape?
ODESSA: Many names indicate shape, but some surnames are just descriptors, like colors. Someone with the last name of Brown could be able to change into anything from a doe to a rabbit.
ABILENE: Or they could be Static. You have to take these things with a grain of salt.
Of course. Still, it’s very interesting to think about the history behind it all.
ELSA: Isn’t it? Lots of history, to be sure.
EDNA: Of course, with all those years passing, sometimes names can fall out of fashion.
ABILENE: It’s true. You hardly ever meet girls named Wren nowadays.
ODESSA: And there were four Wrens in my elementary school.
TULIA: In 1850.
ODESSA [glaring]: Tulia!
All right, ladies. Thank you very much — I’ll let you get back to your day!
ELSA: Come by any time!
TULIA: And take some pie on your way out. Blueberry, today.