User:Athelstan

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Early prominent Lojbanist from the Washington D.C. area; renowned for his pioneering translation of the Saki short story The Open Window, appearing in ju'i lobypli 10. Has not been active since sustaining injuries in a traffic accident in the early '90s.

There is a question commonly asked of us, not really relevant to Lojban, which we can answer in connection with the following article. This is 'Does Athelstan have a last name?'. The answer is both yes and no.

Athelstan's name comes from Old Norse; family names were not used for identification in that culture. Instead, surnames would be granted, generally by nobility, in recognition for some great or significant deed, somewhat after the manner of modern honorary degrees. In the absence of such an honor, different people with the same first name would be distinguished by their place of origin or trade, a practice that eventually led to our modern practice. Honorific surnames wouldn't be used in the same way as modern family names, but rather only in an appropriate context. Athelstan obviously has a place he was born, but he does not need this 'surname' to distinguish him from others. How many other people do you know by the name of Athelstan?

But, in addition to a locative surname, Athelstan has been rewarded (by appropriate authorities familiar with the tradition) with two different honorific surnames for noteworthy deeds in unrelated fields (Athelstan is a person of diverse talents). The stories are long, and perhaps I can talk Athelstan into writing of them (in Lojban) for later issues; he tells these stories quite interestingly, in the old bardic tradition. But in any case, he uses them only in the appropriate context. The following article is one such place, since one of his honorific surnames stems from his demonstrated mastery of skaldic forms. (T. Peter Park uses the other honorific surname in his description of the New York Lojban meeting, printed in lojbo karni 11.)

ju'i lobypli, issue 10