Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Character Names in a Book I Can’t Pronounce

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A knight kneeling in front of a woman who is wearing a medieval dress.Raise your hand if you read the fantasy genre!

There are countless things I love about these sorts of stories, but I have to admit that some of the names in them are pretty hard to get rolling off of my tongue.

There are often massive linguistic differences between names from real-life cultures I may not be well-acquainted with and names that were made up by the authors themselves.

The former have pronunciations that make sense once you understand a little bit about the language they came from and how vowels and consonants can and can’t be joined up together in it.

This isn’t always the case for the latter unless you have an author like J.R.R. Tolkien who creates entire languages for his worlds. While I definitely don’t judge anyone who skips that step when creating a fantasy world, it can make pronouncing the names of the characters in it trickier.

So I tried to keep this list pared down to names that trip me up due to them not being formed by strict rules of pronunciation.

  • Daenerys
  • Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander
  • Tekilashan
  • Numuhukumakiaki’aialunamor
  • Kylarral-ten
  • Tvlakv
  • Drizzt Daermon N’a’shezbaernon.
  • Zoenen Hoogstandjes

I found most of these names in this Reddit thread if anyone is interested in reading more.

 

 

26 Responses to Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Character Names in a Book I Can’t Pronounce

  1. I don’t read much fantasy, but I do get irritated when I come across a name in a book that I don’t know how to pronounce. I like it when the author explains it rhymes with such-and-such or something so the reader knows how to say it in their heads. Until the first Harry Potter movie came out I was pronouncing Hermione as Her-me-own instead of Her-mine-ee!

    Susan
    http://www.blogginboutbooks.com

  2. Yeah, the Drizzt books were full of odd spellings — I recently learned that the panther’s name, Guenhwyvar, is pronounced exactly the same as King Arthur’s wife. In that case, though, I mostly just muddled through and didn’t worry too much about it.

    My answer is here

  3. When I’m reading novels — or even nonfiction — that involve long, odd names, sometimes my mind truncuates them or creates a nickname. “Numuhukumakiaki’aialunamor” would become “Numa” or (if I was feeling impish) “Numanuma” in short order!

  4. Wow! Those fantasy names are difficult. I mostly read sci-fi, and only when there are alien names, do they get hard to say. But husband reads a lot of fantasy as well as sci-fi, and he’d agree with you about the names! Reminds me of reading the old Russians, where each character has 4 names, depending on who is speaking to them, and how close their relationship is. Don’t make it difficult for your readers! Have pity!

  5. I think Daenerys is the only one I know. I usually just mumble something in my brain when I’m reading a book with a name I can’t figure out!

  6. Whoa, now that’s an impressive list of unpronounceables!
    Anything with an apostrophe drives me a bit bonkers. Those have apostrophes AND ridiculous spellings. Double whammies!

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