Son of Ansteopality

Tim McDaniel tmcd at
Wed Oct 23 17:08:29 PDT 1996

Let me label the sentences for reference.

On Wed, 23 Oct 1996, dennis grace <amazing at> wrote:
A> SCA heralds control words.

B> Look at Daniel de Lincoln's postings on
 > the matter of names using the words Devil or Hell, for example, or
 > his latest posting of Master Talan's response.

C> We in the SCA cannot use the names we select without heraldic
 > approval.

D> This approval,
  > quite simply, represents linguistic authority and requires a certain
  > linguistic facility.

I believe the reasoning shown above does not support "A".  "A" is
about words, and B and C are about names.  Onomastics and linguistics
are separate fields.  Related, yes, in that some tools might be useful
in both (I suppose, having no great knowledge of either).  Knowledge
of linguistics might help the study of onomastics, since all names are
words ... but most words are not names.

I don't see where expertise in onomastics would help much in
linguistics.  How would knowledge of name stocks, use of patronymics,
use of inheritable surnames, new forms of construction, existing forms
of construction, or many of the other topics important to the
onomastician help in learning linguistics?

For authorities on words, I would think rhetoricians, grammarians,
philosophers, and poets would have far stronger claims to the titles
than heralds.

As a side note, C is false in general; people can use names without
heraldic approval.  Many people go about with unregistered or returned
names.  There is no heraldry police, either for names or armory.
There was recent discussion of this on the SCA Heralds' mailing list.
A few older heralds said that there once was such authority exercised
in some places.  A few heralds said that it ought to be so; most

(OK, for *branches*, name and arms registration are required.  Even
that's a more long-term force; some groups will, for various reasons,
go for years with unregistered names and armory.)

In short, even if I were an onomastics expert -- and I'm far from that
-- I would refuse the mantle of "word expert".

Daniel de Lincoln
                             Tim McDaniel
                        Reply-To: tmcd at
    mcdaniel at is wrong tool.  Never use this.

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