Burunking personal names consist of a '''family name''' (''aaxeng'') and a '''given name''' (''xeng''). Family names are derived from an individual's clan and remain the same throughout a person's life. Given names consist of two types: a) a childhood name conferred by parents at birth or early childhood (''ayaxeng''), and b) an adult name conferred at puberty by community elders (''xensho'').
Family names are generally derived from the name of the ''amasho'' (female ancestor) of a clan, usually with one of the suffixes ''-eng'', ''-iri'', ''-ko'', ''-zoi'' and, rarely, ''-daz''. For example, a descendant of ''Endazibya'' might be called ''Endazibyeng'' or ''Endazibiri''. More often, a hypocoristic form of the name is used, e.g. ''Endashiri'' or ''Daziko''.
Family names are not changed on marriage. Children will usually adopt the name of their mother.
Childhood names are usually affectionate, descriptive names indicating some physical characteristic or quality. For example, a child born with dark hair or complexion might be called ''Beuto'' "little dark one", a fair child might be called ''Oijing'' "like the sun", a happy child might be called ''Izizoi'' "fond of smiling". To western ears some of these names might seem rude or uncouth, denoting apparently negative or embarrassing features according to our own standards, e.g. ''Ishuno'' "little blind one", ''Beretteng'' "big ears", ''Xabeuno'' "little pot belly". There are few taboos concerning such names, except where they are deemed to confer bad luck or are considered to diminish the status of the family. A handful of words are not considered appropriate, e.g. ''dedez'' "beautiful, handsome" is used only of adults.
Once a child has reached adulthood and undergone the relevant rites, it is considered rude to refer to a person by their childhood name, except for close family members and close friends. In some cases an individual will forego their childhood name entirely.
Adult names are conferred as part of the series of rites that initiate a child into adulthood. They are usually composed of two elements, which are symbolic of an individual's qualities and expected role in society. The two elements are always combined into a single word, but they may or may not make sense as a unit. For example, the name ''Endazibya'' above is derived from ''endaz'' "strength, power" and ''ibya'' "river", and may be interpreted as a whole meaning "power of a river".
In some communities it is common for all children to the same parents or the same mother to have one element of their name in common. This is often a topographical feature (''ibya'' "river", ''binji'' "mountain"), an animal (''furi'' "bird", ''heuji'' "horse") or a quality (''furi'' "white", ''funuz'' "wise").