Saturday, July 22, 2017

Top 3 Fantasy Names I Wish I Could Pronounce (Lizzie)

One of the characteristics of a fantasy novel is the strange words. You have strange character names, place names, plant names, creature names, and spells and incantations. Those strange and sometimes beautiful tongue twisters are part of the fun of exploring a new world, but they can can also make it difficult. How do you talk about a favorite character when you and your friends pronounce his name differently? How do you feel when the actors in the movies or the audio book narrators butcher the pronunciations you've been using? Do difficult character names actually induce you to give up on a novel? If names are too strange, I'm tempted to put the book down, especially if the plot was only so-so.

Which words from your favorite novels do you most wish to know how to pronounce? Here are some names from favorite stories I wish I knew how to pronounce.

Earning finding Starflower from Starflower
1) Bard Eanrin from the fabulous TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOODS series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. I adore this character. As a faerie, he's sometimes a cat and sometimes a man, but always both in a way and always my favorite character. He's a minor character in the first story, Heartless, but gets increasingly important as the series moves on. It's true that his name isn't long or particularly complicated, but I'm still not exactly sure how to pronounce it. I tend to glance at words and then make up a pronunciation, so I'm never sure, even when I slow down to carefully read and think about a name, if I'm pronouncing it correctly.

It's comforting to know that sometimes the characters in stories mispronounce other character names by mistake or for humor. That's always fun. In Heartless, Una's brother deliberately calls Prince Aethelbald Prince Applebald (Aethel being a common part of a king's name in the Anglo-Saxon days, I believe).

2) Aravis from C.S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy from THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. Again, this girl's name isn't long or complicated, but still I want to know if I am pronouncing it rightly. Is it A-rav-iss or air-a-vis or ...? Either way, I'm convinced it sounds beautiful.

3) Prince Fyrian This is a favorite character from my first set of stories, which I will one day rewrite and publish. Is it sad that he's my character and I don't know how to pronounce the name? Sometimes to give a character a more exotic name, I'll make one up, sounding out different words until I come up with one I like. Then I try to find a spelling that matches what I'm saying. Other times, as in Fyrian's case, I look up Latin or French words to match some aspect of the character. Fyrian comes from looking up "fire"; it means "firing." But I imagine it sounding like "Syrian" with an "f" at the beginning instead of an "s", and not sounding like "fire" at all. At least, that is what I remember doing to find the word. I looked for it again and can't find it.

How do you feel about unique names in novels? Do you want to know how they are made up or what language they may have come from or what they mean? Which words do you want to know how to pronounce?

1 comment:

  1. Ha, what a fun post, Lizzie! Fantasy names can be tricky to pronounce, and I agree that it makes it hard to talk about them! Just this morning one of my boys asked about the cover of Alara's call and I realized I'm not even sure whether that would be pronounced Al-ah-ra or Al-eh-ra :)


Please note that your comment hasn't gone through unless you see the notice: "Your comment will be visible after approval." We apologize for any difficulties posting comments or delays in moderation.