December 14, 2019, 12:26:45 AM

Author Topic: Fantasy Names / pronounciation  (Read 11877 times)

Offline ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 11329
  • Total likes: 6546
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« on: October 11, 2015, 11:20:23 AM »
I started writing this in Julia Knight's thread and then realised this is bigger than that, and something I've been meaning to discuss with you for a while.

In her book, the one thing that sometimes keeps me stumbling are the names. I keep finding it strange to see 'ch' in an english setting (Kacha, Vocho), and I'm not even sure I'm pronuncing them right in my brain (Kasha, Vosho).

My language experience keeps me pronouncing fantasy names in a very different way to what the author thinks (as I've discovered with 'Ryiria' - via the last book, and 'Jorg' - via Mark Lawrence): while it might be annoying for the author or to me when I'm actually talking our loud with others about the books, it sometimes makes me feel that they are my special names ;)

Am I the only one? Have you had the experience of reading books one way, then at the end discovering you have been 'saying' them all wrong differently?
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

I'm "She Who Reigns Over Us All In Crimson Cheer", according to Peat!

Offline Mr.J

  • Anus Dracula formerly known as Arse Demon and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Gentleman Bastard
  • *****
  • Posts: 1652
  • Total likes: 1113
  • Gender: Male
  • Tweedy impertinence
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2015, 12:47:30 PM »
I sort of presume I'm pronouncing them wrong, but frankly if the way you read it is the easiest/most satisfying pronunciation on your tongue-mind then it doesn't matter what the author's intention was.

I read The Name of the Wind with 'Kvoth' in my head instead of the author's pronunciation 'Kvaothe' (also how else would you spell that out phonetically?).

Sure his probably sounds better, 'Kvoth' sounds a little uncouth, but hey if you make a fantasy character with a million consonants and apostrophes you should expect a multitude of interpretations from readers imo. :)

"It's leviosarrrrrr not leviosaaaaa" etc.

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • Total likes: 2111
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2015, 12:57:31 PM »
I keep finding it strange to see 'ch' in an english setting
Why?


On topic: yeah, that happens to me sometimes. Riyria is by far the weirdest one, the author's pronunciation makes no sense whatsoever. Like, at all. Another good one was Hermione. I pronounced it like Krum did until it was spelled out to him...
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Yora

Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2015, 01:04:19 PM »
This is something I always think about first: Does any name I create have an ambigous pronounciation? For a book it really doesn't amke much of a difference, but I try to always use spellings that can have only one possible pronounciation in English.
A sad thing is that it's impossible to end a word in English with a short e. Which is super common in Germanic female names, which are all automatically off the table.

I was quite surprised by the videogame Skyrim for correctly pronouncing the letter j in Germanic names and terms like "jarl" and "Jurgen". (Which is in English replaced by y, since the j is already used for the French j. And the name is actually spelled "Jürgen", but even with the umlaut not used in the written form, they also pronounce it correct. Amazing.)

English is one of the best languages in the world. And burdened by possibly the worst use of the Latin alphabet.  :D

I would assume that a "ch" is pronounced "tsh". In German we actually have two different "ch". One that follows a, o, and u and is like the English "kh" (like in western and central Asian languages) and another one that follows e and i, which is a sound that just doesn't have anything even close to it in English.  ;D
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor

Offline Francis Knight

Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2015, 01:06:06 PM »
I say it's your head, pronounce them as you like! I do that all the time (and I remember the shock from some people when they heard Brooks pronounce Shannara -- not how most people do!). Once it's left my hands, it's your book, so go for it.

I general I try to keep them as easy as possible to pronounce, but I knew it might be a problem when someone once asked me how to pronounce "Hild". What's easy for one isn't easy for all. So I try, but I know it won't be easy for everyone, and I just have to accept that.



PS: With this particular series, if you imagine they are all pronounced as though you're speaking Italian, you won't be far wrong :) In retrospect, perhaps Vocho should have been Votcho but you're dead on with Kasha. But like I say, say it how you feel comfortable

« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 01:07:37 PM by Francis Knight »
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

http://www.juliaknight.co.uk/

Offline ScarletBea

  • Welcome party and bringer of Cake. 2nd-in-Command of the Writing Contest
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 11329
  • Total likes: 6546
  • Gender: Female
  • Geeky Reading Introvert
    • View Profile
    • LibraryThing profile
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2015, 03:54:32 PM »
I keep finding it strange to see 'ch' in an english setting
Why?
I think there are only words with 'tch' (or that should be pronounced tch), not the plain 'ch' portuguese sound. For that, it uses 'sh'.
Except in the beginning of words, of course, but I'm talking middle of the word.
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!

I'm "She Who Reigns Over Us All In Crimson Cheer", according to Peat!

Offline Raptori

  • Barbarian who does not use the Oxford comma and Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Dragonrider
  • ***
  • Posts: 4054
  • Total likes: 2111
  • the prettiest kitty cat in the world
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2015, 04:27:02 PM »
I keep finding it strange to see 'ch' in an english setting
Why?
I think there are only words with 'tch' (or that should be pronounced tch), not the plain 'ch' portuguese sound. For that, it uses 'sh'.
Except in the beginning of words, of course, but I'm talking middle of the word.
Ahh right, can't really think of much but I'm pretty sure it's used for several different sounds. For example 'hierarchy' and 'architecture' have more of a 'k' sound than a 'tch'...  :P
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline YordanZh

Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2015, 04:43:26 PM »
Pff, it happens to me all the time, especially as a non-English speaker. I've learned not to care about it tho, since it happens so often. It isn't rare for me to see a name that would be particularly hard for me to pronounce so I just immediately decide in my head "Ok, I don't care, for me that guy's actually called "Thisthatson" or w/e."  ;D

Heck, it happened to me as a writer too - I've always pronounced the name of one of my characters in a particular way, but when I started talking with readers, getting feedback and discussing the book, I found that they all pronounce his name in a very different way. After the third or forth such occurrence I thought about it for a little and realized that my readers are actually right - it makes more sense for the name to be pronounced the way they do it. :P

Offline Hedin

Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2015, 10:05:30 PM »
I say it's your head, pronounce them as you like! I do that all the time (and I remember the shock from some people when they heard Brooks pronounce Shannara -- not how most people do!). Once it's left my hands, it's your book, so go for it.

That's exactly my approach to it, I'll pronounce names as they see fit to me while I am reading.   If I'm talking to someone about the book and they pronounce a name differently I'll notice and just keep doing it my way.

Offline Jonny_Anonymous

  • Builder
  • ******
  • Posts: 145
  • Total likes: 6
  • Gender: Male
  • Bring Us The Girl And Wipe Away The Debt
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2015, 10:35:33 PM »
Malazan does this to me all the time, in fact I'm sure I pronounce most of the names wrong. Like how the hell am I meant to pronounce Kruppe or Tiste Andii?   
“There is no struggle too vast, no odds too overwhelming, for ever should we fail- should we fall- we will know that we have lived.”


? Anomander Rake

Offline Lady Ty

  • Blessed River Lady and Defender of Baby Dragons
  • Ta'veren
  • **
  • Posts: 3459
  • Total likes: 2919
  • Gender: Female
  • So-Old-That-She-Can-Nearly-Be-Called-Oldest-Ty
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2015, 11:01:02 PM »
I would assume that a "ch" is pronounced "tsh". In German we actually have two different "ch". One that follows a, o, and u and is like the English "kh" (like in western and central Asian languages) and another one that follows e and i, which is a sound that just doesn't have anything even close to it in English.  ;D
That sound may be like the  "ch" in the Scottish word "loch" where the ch is almost swallowed, but usually mispronounced elsewhere as "lock."

 
I say it's your head, pronounce them as you like! I do that all the time (and I remember the shock from some people when they heard Brooks pronounce Shannara -- not how most people do!). Once it's left my hands, it's your book, so go for it.


Francis, that is good to know and helpful to us in way you feel.  I would have thought writers felt otherwise, because their characters are so personal to them it would include the names. Most name pronunciations I get from audible and have assumed the writer was consulted there, but sometimes have a shock when I have read the books and was so wrong in my head.  Riyria was one so very different when I heard it first. If names are too hard to guess, such as ones with several xx's,  I just use my own made up name.

Is Jorg pronounced Yorg? Because Jalan is hard J Jalan.
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2015, 11:09:18 PM »
I am sure that most of the time I am pronouncing names incorrectly. I was embarased when I finally heard someone pronounce Nynaeve from Wheel of Time. I went 5 books pronouncing it something like "Nin-ah-vah."

Offline Arry

  • Cat of the Canals
  • Administrator
  • Elderling
  • ***
  • Posts: 5878
  • Total likes: 635
  • Gender: Female
  • Faceless
    • View Profile
    • Tenacious Reader
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2015, 12:15:35 AM »
Jean from Gentleman Bastards is one that I found out I was mispronouncing, it took me a while, but I did eventually get it straight. For names where I really just don't now, like Riyria, I don't know that I ever even come up with an exact or persistent pronunciation (which is always easier since I never actually talk books with people IRL and have no need to actually know how to say them)
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
-- George R.R. Martin

http://www.tenaciousreader.com

http://www.speculativeherald.com

Offline Hedin

Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2015, 12:57:17 AM »
Malazan does this to me all the time, in fact I'm sure I pronounce most of the names wrong. Like how the hell am I meant to pronounce Kruppe or Tiste Andii?

I've always gone with Croup and Tea-stay Andy.

Offline JMack

  • Hircum Magna Rex of the Fabled Atku Temple, and writing contest regular
  • Writing Group
  • Big Wee Hag
  • ******
  • Posts: 7005
  • Total likes: 4772
  • Gender: Male
  • Our daily efforts are love poems to the universe.
    • View Profile
    • Tales of Starlit Lands
Re: Fantasy Names / pronounciation
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2015, 01:00:56 AM »
Malazan does this to me all the time, in fact I'm sure I pronounce most of the names wrong. Like how the hell am I meant to pronounce Kruppe or Tiste Andii?

I've always gone with Croup and Tea-stay Andy.

No, no. You're just wrong.  ;)

Crup (is in "up") and Tist Andy.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com