Character of the Week: Armenian Names

Sometimes the writer isn’t the only one who needs to do a little research.

Male, 19, Contemporary

He was born/raised in Connecticut. He is from the hellhole part, specifically New Haven, home of the Yale campus but also the fourth most dangerous city in America according to the FBI. He’s Byzantine Catholic or Orthodox Christian, so he’s probably of – Armenian? Serbian? Slovak? Don’t know yet – extraction.

His parents hate him, and he doesn’t think about them. They are working class and conservative. They had a falling out over “lifestyle choices.” He got his religious bent from them. His surname is open.

His close friends are Mina and Jonathan. Another character is just called by his surname, Lynch, but his name might be changed to Verevkin or something. 

He’s a sex worker (prostitute, hustler, whatever you want to call it). He’s very beautiful, but very messed up. He’s seen too many people who he loved hurt, so he thinks the world is a sick place full of anger. He is sick and angry too, but it’s not something that really comes naturally to him … he should have been a good person. He has the kind of anger which isn’t indiscriminate or vicious but which comes from grieving, like a righteous fire.

Magical Realism

When I’m naming I generally go with whatever the writer gives me. I trust that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to their characters. In this case, though, I needed to do more. I needed to research a little.

When I’m not the writer, when I only need to research a little (hey, I’m unpaid here!), I go to Wikipedia. I did some quick searches on Byzantine and Orthodox Christianity and on Armenia, Serbia, and Slovakia. I felt like I needed a basis before I could look at names. And I did learn that both Serbians and Slovakians generally use Slavic names.

Here I chose a selection of names which, I thought, could sound like a beautiful and damaged sex worker.

I’ve given you four Armenian and five Serbian/Slovak names to choose from.

  • Lorik
  • Alik
  • Hayrik
  • Vartan
  • Luka
  • Roman
  • Viktor
  • Branimir (Bran)
  • Emil

I can advise on surnames once an ethnicity and given name are chosen.

The writer replies: Let’s go with Armenian.

Once I knew which selection of names he would be choosing from, I did another search on Wikipedia to find Armenian surnames. With surnames I generally chose whichever one stands out to me. This time my choice was a bit comic.

A little play on his occupation.

  • Lorik Bedrosian
  • Alik Bedrosian
  • Hayrik Bedrosian
  • Vartan Bedrosian

The writer replied: I think I’ll go with Hayrik! Thank you, you’ve been a help.

Naming doesn’t have to be hard or serious or stressful. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of research and a sense of humor.

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One thought on “Character of the Week: Armenian Names

  1. Armenians are Armenian Apostolic, it is a rite within Christian Orthodoxy, but it is very distinctive culturally and Armenians usually have their own calender of Saints, liturgy and literature from which they chose.

    Serbs are usually Serbian-Orthodox and Slovaks are either Roman Catholic, Free Thinkers or Protestant. The only Byzantines or Orthodox Christians in Slovakia are people of Ruthenian ethnicity and they usually identify more as Ruthenian than Slovak. Famous example would be Andy Warhol. Slovaks, as already mentioned, tend to use Slavic names, or Slavicized Western names or Germanic names, since Slovakia has strong ties with Austria.

    Serbs use Slavicized Greek names, Slavic names or modern names derived from nature.

    Armenia was under the Soviet Union, and has been overrun by Turkey and a ways back had some ties with ancient Greece and Persia. Armenian names are mostly derived from Armenian words and since Armenia is one of the eldest Christian countries, many of the traditional Armenian saints had Armenian names derived from words. However, Armenians do, from time to time, use Turkish, Persian, Russian or Greek names. Don’t go too crazy with random Turkish names, however, as Armenia has a bitter relation with Turkey and one Turkish name might not be very realistic for an Armenian character, while another would be perfectly acceptable. Here is a link to Armenian names with history, usage and origins: http://armenian.name/index.php?a=list&d=1

    That said, The Name Girl already gave you some wonderful examples. I know you are thinking of going with Hayrik, but if you change your mind, please keep us updated 🙂

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