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Melting-Pot Nomenclature

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When someone decides to invent a fantasy land, they often give everyone exotic and strange names to help reinforce the essential foreignness. However, in some cases, the writer decides to keep things a bit more down to Earth, and so keeps the exotic names, but only uses real names.

Melting-Pot Nomenclature occurs when these names come from different, disparate cultures, countries, and languages.

Note that this only applies to single fictional countries. If you have one country with French names and one with German, then it's not an example. However, a small farming village where you can meet a pair of brothers named Pierre and Gunter would be an example.

There is some Truth in Television to this, in countries that have large and diverse immigrant populations. It is particularly common in Western Hemisphere countries, in which descendants of European, Asian, and African settlers and slaves outnumber descendants of the natives, and intercultural marriage results in a huge mishmash of names across the board. Let alone parents who choose foreign names for their kids just because they like the sound. Or make up totally new names. This trope is the reason why the United States has cities with Hispanic names in what used to be Mexico, French names in the former French colony of Louisiana, German names in the Midwest, and Scandinavian names in Minnesota.

Compare Aerith and Bob, which combines real names with fictional ones in a single setting, and Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names where a Real Life cultural melting pot leads to mashups that sound odd to people from other cultures, in turn leading to exaggerations in fiction.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The names in Attack on Titan have a primarily German theme, but are also frequently mixed with English, French, or occasionally some Slavic ones or from elsewhere in Europe. Hell, the protagonist's given name, Eren, is of Turkish origin.
  • In Berserk, the Italian Renaissance-ish port of Vritanis, where the van Damion family lives ('van Damion' means 'from Damion' in Dutch, but 'Damion' doesn't sound anything like typical Dutch place names). They have kids with names like Magnifico and Farnese (Italian).
  • Claymore has many names that could reasonably appear in a quasi-Medieval European setting (Clare, Teresa, Flora) and then throws in ones like Queenie and Tesla, the latter of whom is not only a female, but has a name that's usually used as a surname, not a given one. Then there's Dietrich, usually a male given name again used for a female, along with mythological ones like Galatea, Nike, Undine and Uranus that stick out like a sore thumb next to the others. Given the huge cast, most of which are female one gets the sense that the author eventually just started flipping through a baby names book and picking at random.
  • Code Geass characters have names with their origins in just about every different European culture, sometimes within the same family. Might be justified by the fact that The Empire has taken over and assimilated large parts of the world.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Not uncommon, as the evacuation of Earth resulted in a cultural and racial melting pot. Taken to its natural conclusion, you get a character like Faye (which could also be Fei) Valentine (implied but never confirmed not to be her real last name), who claims to be Roma but is later revealed to be from Singapore before the gate disaster, or someone with the name Spike Spiegel who grew up working for the Red Dragon Syndicate, with most of their leadership having Chinese names.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist uses European names for the Amestrian characters, but without any seeming realization that "Europe" is actually dozens of different languages, cultures, and peoples. English, French, German, Italian, Low Countries, and even Turkish names (in the case of Selim Bradley), as well as As Long as It Sounds Foreign, are jumbled together seemingly randomly, along with the occasional Japanese name.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The series has many instances of names being interspersed around several languages that ethnically matches one nationality, but in some occasions is culturally a different one.
  • My-Otome: The show taking place on a far-future Lost Colony, most characters have Japanese given names and European family names. Then there's Altai, where a mix of Chinese and Russian names is the norm. Half of this oddity comes from the fact that the writers want you to immediately identify characters from its predecessor.
  • One Piece has this sometimes. Some characters are given European-sounding names, but they're actually following Asian naming conventions. Thus Monkey D. Luffy's first name is actually Luffy, while his family name is Monkey D. Yes. His middle initial is his family name. Others are meant to be from a Western culture, but are given strange and unfitting names (Word of God says Sanji would be French if he was from the real world, but his name means "three o'clock snack" in Japanese).
  • The Promised Neverland: While most of the cast have fairly common names with the occasional spelling error, there are some more unusual ones like Pepe, Hao, and Krone. Justified in that they're in an orphanage with varying ethnicities.

    Comic Books 
  • Some examples from X-Men:
    • Quicksilver aka Pietro Maximoff: Italian given name, slavic surname.
    • Sauron aka Karl Lykos: German given name, Greek surname.
    • Storm aka Ororo Munroe (daughter of a Kenyan mother and an American father): (fictional) East African given name, American (Scottish?) surname.
    • Alpha Flight: Sasquatch aka Walter Langkowski; English or German given name, Polish surname.
    • Mystique aka Raven Darkhölme: English given name, pseudo-Scandinavian surname (which most likely is fake).
    • Legion aka David Charles Haller (son of an Israeli mother born in Germany): Hebrew first name commonly used in many languages (name of his foster father), Anglo-French, originally Germanic middle name (name of his biological father, an American), German surname (of a type frequently used Jewish families).
    • Jubilee aka Jubilation Lee (second-generation Chinese-American): English given name, Chinese family name.
    • Rictor aka Julio Esteban Richter: Spanish given names, German surname.
    • Anne-Marie Cortez (French given names, Spanish surname) and her fellow Acolyte Harry Delgado (English given name, Spanish surname).
    • Belladonna "Belle" Boudreaux (Gambit's wife): Italian given name, French surname.
    • Annie and Carter Ghazikhanian: Anglo-American given names, Armenian (?) surname.

    Fan Works 
  • Pokémon Crossing: gives the Hoenn region plenty of diverse names for locals and immigrants. For example, Coco Haniwa and Tank Pepper are both Hoenn natives.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines gives the franchise's "Japanese" regions populations with diverse names, usually Western, Japanese, or both.

    Films — Animation 
  • Turning Red: Abby Park has a Korean family name, but her given name is a shortened form of Abigail, which is Hebrew in origin. It's unclear if this is because she's not fully Korean or if her parents gave her that name because it's culturally relevant in Canada.

  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Barrayar was settled by a mix of several ethnic groups, and so we get French (Pierre), Russian (Ivan, Piotr), and English (Miles) names occuring in the same family.
    • Cryoburn takes place on a planet with obvious Japanese influence, but several of the characters have a Japanese given name and Western surname, or the other way around.
    • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Shiv Cordonah got his hands on a book full of Old Earth names, resulting in in his children getting (very long) names from a wide array of Earth cultures.
  • The Imperium of Dune is one hell of a melting pot. "Atreides" is Greek. "Harkonnen" is Finnish (and the family patriarch has the very Russian first name Vladimir). "Bene Gesserit" is Latin, but their term for The Chosen One- "Kwisatz Haderach"- is Hebrew. Most Fremen terms are Arabic. Both "Landsraad" (Scandinavian) and "kanly" (Turkish) are used in common parlance, and chakobsa note  is apparently widely spoken.
  • Ender's Game has this at the Battle Academy, which is full of children from around the world.
  • In Havemercy, the main characters' Fantasy Counterpart Russia seems to contain a mix of French and British names with a handful of names from other languages thrown in for good measure, with no explanation for the mix or why nobody's name sounds as though it comes from the same language as the name of the country itself. The neighboring pseudo-China country, meanwhile, mixes Chinese, Japanese, and Korean-sounding names — though it is an empire which has conquered a lot of territory.
  • Dutch Fantasy/Sci-Fi author Tais Teng likes to do this in futuristic settings or stories taking place in particularly large cities. The worst example is his charlatan Sherlock Holmes Captain Ersatz, one of the last pure-blooded human beings in the universe; his full name is Percy d'Arezzo y Mac Shimonoseki.
  • In Everworld ancient cultures survive, but often live close to each other in patterns totally different from our world. One result is a large number of Black Vikings (and Asian Vikings, etc.), including a pair of brothers named Sven and Sancho (whose mother was apparently an Aztec).
  • Damn near everyone in the Honor Harrington series has a name like this to accentuate the mixing of ethnicity that came with the diaspora, such as Alfredo Yu, and Honor's mother Allison Carmena Elena Inéz Regina Benton-Ramirez y Chou Harrington. Any given planet will usually pick from only one or two sources, so Andrew Kobayashi is unlikely to be from the same planet as Sven Tran.
  • In Apparatus Infernum, all sorts of names co-exist in the setting, ranging from Scandinavian to Japanese. This reflects the diverse origins of the settlers from "our" world who stumbled on it.
  • Alejandro Jorges Umemoto from Armor is the ruler of a planet whose culture is clearly based on Feudal Japan.
  • Character names in The Witcher are mostly Polish and German. While many of the German names are common in English and exist in French and Spanish as well, some of the Polish ones might be very unfamiliar to western readers and seem like cases of Aerith and Bob. During the Middle Ages many Germans settled in Slavic areas near the Baltic Sea, so a mix of names like this would have been common in many regions.
  • This is the case in Tasakeru, where each of the eight sentient species has their own culture and naming customs.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The Seven Kingdoms contains an interesting blend of fictional names and names that are common in the real-world. However, many of the real-world names use fictional spelling variations or spellings from a variety of different real-world cultures. For example, the series features brothers named Sandor (a Hungarian spelling of Alexander) and Gregor (a German/Scots spelling of Gregory).
  • In Rebuild World, the story is implied to take place in the ruins of what was once a futuristic version of Japan, given how the characters use Japanese honorifics and the Japanese naming of the ruins and cities. Despite this, there are characters with both Japanese and North American/European names in the story, such as Akira, Sara, and Sheryl.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Done in The 100 to emphasize the rugged future. The Grounders have names from various sources to emphasize the rugged future, with names like Tristan (Welsh), Indra (Hindu), and Artigas (Spanish).
  • The Babylon 5 episode A Voice In The Wilderness featured an ISN report about rioting happening on Mars. The news anchor informed the audience that they were switching over to ISN correspondent Derek Mobotabwe, who turns out to be a fair-skinned man with a stereotypical American newscaster voice.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Miles and Keiko O'Brien name their son Kirayoshi O'Brien. The name reflects not only his Irish and Japanese heritages, but of the Bajorian Kira Nerys who volunteered to be his surrogate when Keiko was in a life threatening accident. (In Japanese, his first name means "Good Kira") Also, his big sister Molly has two middle names; Miyaki (a town in Japan) and Worf (the Klingon who delivered her).
  • Both Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation featured Worf's son from time to time, Alexander Rozhenko, also known as Alexander, Son of Worf, of the House Mogh (later House Martok).

  • The Trope Namer is The Melting Pot, a 1908 play by Israel Zangwill, in which David and Mendel Quixano have identifiably Jewish first names, but when a girl comes calling for "Mr. Quixano" (which could refer to either one), she is surprised to find out that the family is not Spanish.

  • BIONICLE: In its first year (2001), the brand drew its character names, place names, and other terminology from a wide range of Polynesian languages. This led to some controversy over the use of Maori names, and in 2003 some of these original names were changed to My Nayme Is variants. But 2003 also introduced many characters in the Mata Nui Online Game II, who had Meaningful Names coming from even more diverse global languages. Examples include Nixie (English), Pelagia (Latin), Taiki (Japanese), Tehuti (Egyptian), Kalama (Hawaiian), and Pakastaa (Finnish).

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The setting is full of characters that have English and Japanese names. This is in-part that the overall metropolis is a mishmash of primary influences of several languages with names being displayed in both dialects.
  • In Analogue: A Hate Story and its sequel Hate Plus, the Mugunghwa is a Korean Generation Ship, so naturally it boasts an all-Korean population with Korean names. One of the noble families is known as the Smith family, yet it's still composed of those of Korean lineage.
  • Astral Chain features a wide variety of names on the Hypermegafloat Ark, including Japanese (Akira), Hispanic (Lopez), Korean (Wong), Russian (Merkulov), Hebrew (Yoseph), and many more. Justified, in that a worldwide apocalypse caused millions of people from around the world to migrate to the Ark, which serves as the last refuge of humanity.
  • "Baldurs Gate 3": It's par for the course in the world of Baldur's Gate (Faerûn), as it encompasses a lot of different races and cities and regions, all with their own cultures, languages, religions, and naming conventions. The core companions alone include Lae'zel (a gith'yanki who's not even from Faerûn), Shadowheart (half-elven child kidnapped & renamed by her Sharran captors), Karlach (tiefling), Wyll (human born and raised in Baldur's Gate), and Gale (human from Waterdeep). Baldur's Gate (the city) is just as mixed, since it's a seaport town with a huge mix of cultures from all over Faerûn.
  • Disco Elysium is set in a melting-pot community and gives everyone diverse names in order to reflect this.
    • Player character Harry du Bois has a Surense (French) surname and a Vespertine (English) first name the Hanged Man finds mundane, though you will later discover it's short for " Harrier". (Also an English word.)
    • A special mention goes to Kim Kitsuragi, who is of Seolite descent (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture most similar to Japan) whose first name is a Korean family name, and whose second name is a Japanese family name (Well, the actual Japanese family name would be "Katsuragi", but close enough).
  • Final Fantasy VII has Rufus Shinra, who has a Latin first name and a Japanese surname. A sort-of example is Yuffie Kisaragi, who has a distinctly Japanese surname combined with a vaguely European-sounding first name.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: In Daein alone, there are names like Micaiah (Hebrew), Nolan (Irish), Leonardo (Italian), Meg, Edward, Jill (English), and Izuka (Japanese).
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has Scherazard Harvey (Arabic + English). Since its sequel Kuro no Kiseki introduces the Arabian counterpart culture of Elsaim, it's possible that her ancestors were originally from there, given that people from Elsaim look Ambiguously Brown like her.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Big Bad was given the name "Ganon" in The Legend of Zelda and the full name "Ganondorf" in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. "Ganon" (usually spelled "Gannon" in non-Zelda contexts) has Celtic roots, while "-dorf" is found in Germanic names. Funnily, Ganondorf's Fantasy Counterpart Culture resembles neither, as the Gerudo have more of an Arab-derived vibe.
  • Master Detective Archives: Rain Code: There are characters with names such as "Seth Burroughs" and "Iruka". Some characters' names are a mix of Japanese and English, like "Yomi Hellsmile" and "Fubuki Clockford".
  • The English translation of Pokémon has this because the translators have an obsession with giving everyone Meaningful / Punny Names, so they'll go with whatever is most meaningful/makes the best pun rather than the most consistency. (e.g. Bianca (Italian), Cheren (Bulgarian), Volkner (German), Cyrus (Persian), Amanita (Spanish), Rood (Dutch), Bronius (Latin/Germanic hybrid), Giallo (Italian again), Ryoku (Japanese), Gorm (Gaelic), Zinzolin (French), etc.)
  • Can happen in The Sims 2 with townies and NPCs (because their names are picked at random), causing names such as Abhjeet Copur.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: Homs settlements have characters with names from various European languages.
  • XenoGears: Elly van Houten is a normal Dutch name, but it's short for the very weird Elhaym rather than the more common Ellen. Fei Fong Wong's name is not a normal name for a Western or Japanese audience, but is an actual name in China.

    Web Comics 
  • The naming conventions for the trolls in Homestuck are absolutely all over the place. Generally speaking, the individual characters were named with symbolism in mind rather than any consistent pattern, leading to an incredibly eclectic mix. The majority are derived from either Sanskrit or Latin, but then we have Megido (Hebrew), Leijon (Swedish), Maryam (Arabic), Terezi (Azeri), Zahhak (Farsi), Gamzee (Turkish), and Peixes (Portuguese). And then there's the Cherubs, in which we have a brother and sister whose names are Latinized Welsh and Greek respectively.
  • Weak Hero is set in a Korean city, and so all of the characters have full Korean names. However, in the English translation, the characters are given a Westernised first name (e.g. Humin Park becomes Ben Park). This practise only lasted until Season 3- characters introduced after that point retain their Korean names, leading to a mish-mash of Westernised and Korean names in a fully Korean setting. For example, the Yeongdeungpo Union has Jimmy, Forrest, Wolf, Seongmo, and Bongha as members.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: There is an eclectic mix of names from multiple real world cultures and continents that have themes inspired by real-world cultures (for example, the eastern continent of Anima is Asian-influenced). With the world being so dangerous, humanity is constantly fighting for survival, humans gather together wherever they can safely build a life and society. On top of that, there was a global war fought against the loss of individualism and artistic freedom, resulting in a tradition of naming future generations in a way that constantly refers to colours. As a result, character names are inspired by real-life cultures from all over the world, giving us - for example - the English-style name Ruby Rose and her half-sister, who has a Chinese-styled name, Yang Xiao Long.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar:
    • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Water Tribes generally have vaguely Inuit-sounding names, but there's also a couple like Yue (Chinese). Earth Kingdom has names like Bumi (Indonesian), Jet, Long Feng (Chinese), Haru, Suki (Japanese), Song (Korean), Toph (Hebrew), and Koko (French), though the Earth Kingdom does happen to be much bigger than any of the other nations. Fire Nation gives us names like Roku, Iroh, Mai (Japanese), Lu Ten, Ty Lee, Li, Luo (Chinese), and even a couple of Latin-derived names (Ursa, Azula).
    • The Legend of Korra follows on from this. Korra is a My Nayme Is variant of Cora. The "fabulous bending brothers" are Mako (firebender, Japanese) and Bolin (earthbender, Chinese). Hiroshi Sato and his daughter Asami have Japanese names and are descended from Fire Nation colonists, which may also be the case for Shiro Shinobi. Korra's parents Tonraq and Senna have Inuit names, as does Narook the noodle-shop owner. Tenzin is Tibetan (a Shout-Out to the Dalai Lama), as is Pema. Jinora comes from Sanskrit "Jinorasa." Ikki is Uzbek for "two." Butakha is Indonesian for "bald." Lin Beifong is Chinese. Saikhan is Mongol. Hasook is Korean. Amon is Egyptian. Tarrlok is Irish made to look Inuit. And "Lightning Bolt" Zolt is odd—the only name close to Zolt in the real world is the Hungarian name "Zoltan." This is the result of people from all over the world coming together in Republic City.

    Real Life 

  • In spite of the "melting pot" name, this trope is is more common in nations that integrate as a "Salad Bowl," which involves cultures mixing together but maintaining their unique cultural identity. In this scenario, many families continue to use names from their country of origin rather than common names in the country they currently live in, causing a population with names ranging from around the world.
  • Thanks to the spread of Christianity, many Biblical (mostly Hebrew and Aramaic) and Saints' names (mainly but not exclusively Greek and Latin) entered into different cultures, some even becoming some of the most common given names in various countries to which they originally had been foreign, e.g. the various forms of Miriam (Mary)note , Hanna (Ann//Anne/Anna/Hannah), Yochanaan (John), David, and Petros (Peter) for the former, and those of Barbara, Katharina (Catherine), Martinus (Martin), Nikolaos (Nicholas), Franciscus (Francis) for the latter.
  • The spread of Islam led to a lot of name exchange among the major ethnic groups of the Muslim world. The biggest class is names originating in the Arabic-language names of God in Islam like Rashid ("Guide"), Malik ("King" or "Lord"), and Karim ("Generous" or "Noble"), and the "Abdul" names like Abdullah ("Servant/Slave of God") and Abdulrahman ("Servant/Slave of the Benificient"), but names of prophets (most especially Muhammad) and his companions (most especially Ali and Omar) also spread. Many Biblical names also spread from the Hebrew/Aramaic via Arabic through appearances in the Qur'an; in particular, Maryam (Mary), Ibrahim (Abraham), and Ismail (Ishmael) are common from Morocco to Mindanao. On the other hand, non-Arabic names also spread within the Islamic sphere; Persian names in particular like Rostam and Nasrin are commonly used by both Arabs and Turks ('Nasrin' and variants in particular had a bit of a vogue among Levantines — especially Palestinians — and Egyptians in the late 1980s-early 1990s), and to a lesser extent by South Asian and Southeast Asian Muslims. Persian and Turkish surnames are also commonly found among Arab and South Asian Muslim communities; the surname 'Shah' (Persian for "King") is possibly more common in Pakistan and India than in Iran, while 'Rostom' is a hardly unusual surname in Egypt and 'Basha' (from Turkish "Pasha", a noble title roughly equivalent to "Duke") is known as a surname in Syria. And then there is "Khan", the most popular surname among South Asian Muslims, which came from a Mongolian lordly title made famous by Genghis Khan.note