AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 51 to 75 of 88

Thread: How the hell do I pronounce that? Non-English MC names!

  1. #51
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,460
    (I have a character in a novel whose name is Aisling, but her nickname is Ash - which works in the story for multiple reasons - but I anticipate encountering readers who refer to her as Aysling.)
    Jinx! I also have a character with this set up. I do get round it slightly because it's first person and she can simply explain her name away.
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.


  2. #52
    practical experience, FTW autumnleaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    small rainy island
    Posts
    846
    https://taleswildatlantic.wordpress.com/
    I reject your reality and substitute my own
    ~ Adam Savage, Mythbusters

  3. #53
    practical experience, FTW Antipode91's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    103
    I write fantasy that's realistic, so I try to make names that blend between the two. For instance, I have a character named Truss. Not a name you'd probably see anywhere, so it gives it that unique feeling, but it's also normal enough to feel real.

    I can think of books with strange names, like Six of Crows. Typically, I shorten long names, or hard to pronounce names, so I can real quickly. For instance, I'd probably say "Fawny" in my head if I kept seeing their name.

    As the first person to reply said, every reader will read it in different ways. I can't see a situation where it'd matter.

  4. #54
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    The right earlobe of North America
    Posts
    35,871
    Quote Originally Posted by Antipode91 View Post
    I write fantasy that's realistic, so I try to make names that blend between the two. For instance, I have a character named Truss. Not a name you'd probably see anywhere, so it gives it that unique feeling, but it's also normal enough to feel real.
    I hate to say this, but my immediate reaction to the name "Truss" is to think of a particular orthotic device . . .

    caw
    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

    -- Terry Pratchett

  5. #55
    practical experience, FTW Antipode91's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    I hate to say this, but my immediate reaction to the name "Truss" is to think of a particular orthotic device . . .

    caw
    I'm actually kind of glad that's what you thought of. The character has a similar purpose in the story.

    That said, a truss is kind of like a support beam.

  6. #56
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    21,555
    It's also a medical device, and that was what I first thought of. Blac and I are obviously on the same wavelength.

  7. #57
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,460
    old hack and blacbird beat me to it. I also think of the verb :-)

    Word names can work though.
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.


  8. #58
    practical experience, FTW bombergirl69's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    1,462
    Quote Originally Posted by autumnleaf View Post
    OMG that's hysterical!! AWESOME! Sharing that with a good friend with a grand daughter named Saoirse! And yes to the comments about Siobhan--wait, what? a B? Are you kidding me? And Niamh!!

    And yeah, that's the issue. with names like Truss or Get or whatever, I can pronounce them, evenif I'm totally wrong. And you can tell me Truss is pronounced like Steve, but in my mind, Truss! That's my worry with Sadhbh (although I'm going ahead with it!) That unlike even Saoirse or Siobhan which, even if someone is wrong, they can pronounce something, Sadhbh, well...doesnt' leave much!

    But going ahead. It's a first draft, so, could wind up being Mel by the time i'm done!

    Again, GREAT video!
    The fact that there's a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.

  9. #59
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    On the Server
    Posts
    13,287
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    It's pronounced Muh-VAN-wee. With the emphasis on the middle syllable, as is so common in Welsh.
    It's not just common, it's a reliable rule; the penultimate syllable in Welsh is always emphasized.

    ETA: That's part of the reason Welsh sounds so very musical to native English speakers (think Tolkien).
    Last edited by AW Admin; 11-11-2017 at 07:26 PM.

  10. #60
    "The Moving Finger writes..." M.S. Wiggins's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,582
    ↓ Hilarious! ↓
    Quote Originally Posted by autumnleaf View Post
    ↓ Definitely irrelevant video:
    "...and, having writ; Moves on..."

    The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
    For nothing now can ever come to any good. ~W.H. Auden


    Write,
    Always.
    Even if it's shit.
    Shit on a page is organic.
    A blank page is
    Inert.
    ~Wiggins
    MSusanneWiggins.com
    Twit Me

  11. #61
    practical experience, FTW Antipode91's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by Harlequin View Post
    old hack and blacbird beat me to it. I also think of the verb :-)

    Word names can work though.
    Haha it's a first I'm hearing of this!

    But I'm not really attached to any name I give characters. It just made sense of him from where I drew the inspiration from. If an agent ever wanted to change it, so be it. :P

  12. #62
    practical experience, FTW indianroads's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    545
    Humor aside - I have a question. Wouldn't introducing characters with indecipherable names confuse the reader?

  13. #63
    practical experience, FTW Antipode91's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    103
    Depends. Lord of the Rings, for instance, has a lot of weird names, especially for elves. I personally don't like hard to pronounce names, because it slows my reading down. It's like when authors add crazy tags to their dialogue. That said, LOTR isn't marketed to me. It's marketed to people who love high fantasy, and crazy names, and unique languages--people who enjoy taking the time to really absorb that stuff.

    Granted, you said "indecipherable" names. LOTR names arguably could be deciphered if you took the time to pull the name apart. So perhaps what I said is moot.

  14. #64
    practical experience, FTW indianroads's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    545
    Quote Originally Posted by Antipode91 View Post
    Depends. Lord of the Rings, for instance, has a lot of weird names, especially for elves. I personally don't like hard to pronounce names, because it slows my reading down. It's like when authors add crazy tags to their dialogue. That said, LOTR isn't marketed to me. It's marketed to people who love high fantasy, and crazy names, and unique languages--people who enjoy taking the time to really absorb that stuff.

    Granted, you said "indecipherable" names. LOTR names arguably could be deciphered if you took the time to pull the name apart. So perhaps what I said is moot.
    I'm nut usually into Fantasy (although I like Horror, and that might be considered fantasy (werewolves, vampires, etc.) - I have read most of the GOT books. The names used in those books are unusual, but not overly challenging and therefore readable.

  15. #65
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin raine_d's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    Humor aside - I have a question. Wouldn't introducing characters with indecipherable names confuse the reader?
    Depends on what is meant by indecipherable, I guess...if it's just one that looks completely different from how it actually sounds, not a problem, since most folk are gonna mentally pronounce it how they want and won't even realise (or care) if they get it wrong.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this happens a LOT with LOTR... and then there are those wondrous old English surnames like Featherstonehaugh ('Fanshaw'), St. John ('Sin Jin'), and Wriothesley ('Roxli'), as well as those starting with ff (ffrench and ffoulkes - how many people reading them probably go 'f-french' in their heads? ) and of course Wodehouse's immortal Psmith ("the 'p' is silent, as in pshrimp")

    I think using a name that would jar the average reader out of the story (the all-ix's-and-apostrophes loved by old SF) is a mistake, but otherwise... eh. If they're doing it wrong, you won't know so it won't hurt.

  16. #66
    is watching you via her avatar jjdebenedictis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,876
    Quote Originally Posted by raine_d View Post
    and then there are those wondrous old English surnames like Featherstonehaugh ('Fanshaw')
    Omigosh, one of the central mysteries of my childhood was understanding how Worchestershire sauce could POSSIBLY be pronounced 'Wooster' sauce. I could read the bottle, and I could hear what my mom was saying, and there was zero overlap between those two streams.

    In my head, I still pronounce it 'wor-chester-shire'.
    Twitter: jjdebenedictis
    GoodReads: jj-debenedictis

  17. #67
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,460
    GOT names aren't really unusual Dany aside. They're mostly just older or alternate spellings of names familiar to us in the present.

    I feel like fantasy has a reputation worse than it deserves. I've read a lot of fantasy and I really don't recall there being all that many terrible or unpronounceable names as a whole.

    I also wonder if part of this is the (naturally) western centric nature of contemporary literature; Adichie's books are full of names I don't recognise, and they're not fantasy. Just set in Nigeria (mostly). It would be strange for her to use western names in such a setting; in a similar vein, if you want your fantasy or SF to have a certain feel, you'd choose names which appropriately match that.

    Okorafor's "Binti" novel is an afropolitan cosmos, very cool. The names have an appropriate flavour for that context.
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.


  18. #68
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Posts
    10,544
    Quote Originally Posted by Antipode91 View Post
    Depends. Lord of the Rings, for instance, has a lot of weird names, especially for elves. I personally don't like hard to pronounce names, because it slows my reading down. It's like when authors add crazy tags to their dialogue. That said, LOTR isn't marketed to me. It's marketed to people who love high fantasy, and crazy names, and unique languages--people who enjoy taking the time to really absorb that stuff.

    Granted, you said "indecipherable" names. LOTR names arguably could be deciphered if you took the time to pull the name apart. So perhaps what I said is moot.
    The vast majority of names in LOTR seem pretty straightforward to me. I'm not sure what's difficult about Frodo or Elrond or Saruman or Gimli...

    Even the Elvish names are not that hard, once you understand that C is pronounced as K, and one or two other rules. Celeborn, Galadriel, Mithrandir, Arwen Undomiel...these are all very musical.
    Last edited by BethS; 11-12-2017 at 08:15 PM.

  19. #69
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In the land of cheese and chocolate
    Posts
    10,544
    Quote Originally Posted by jjdebenedictis View Post
    Omigosh, one of the central mysteries of my childhood was understanding how Worchestershire sauce could POSSIBLY be pronounced 'Wooster' sauce.
    But it's not. It's wooster-shur sauce.

    Though like you, as a child I thought "wooster" had more syllables...
    Last edited by BethS; 11-12-2017 at 08:16 PM.

  20. #70
    Derailed WriteMinded's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Above Paradise in California
    Posts
    5,625
    How embarrassing. So many names in this thread that baffle me. When I encounter difficult (for me) to pronounce names in a novel, I am uncomfortable until the author lays it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tazlima View Post
    ...and don't get me started on names out of greek mythology, which I consumed avidly in middle and high school without ever hearing the names pronounced aloud. I read Antigone as "Anti-gone." as in, the opposite of gone.
    Anti-gone is correct. I'm sure of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fruitbat View Post
    I think building in the exchange where the MC tells another character how to pronounce her name fixes any inconvenience to readers well.

    Whatever readers' varying opinions about a hard-to-pronounce name are (and whatever country they happen to be from), I can't really see it being a dealbreaker anyway.
    Not a dealbreaker, but knowing how the name is supposed to sound makes for a more comfortable read.

    Quote Originally Posted by BethS View Post
    Include a pronunciation guide? I've seen that done before. . .
    Some people wouldn't even look at a guide, but I am not one of them. I love guides. Also, IMO, a large cast of characters calls for a family tree.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjdebenedictis View Post
    Omigosh, one of the central mysteries of my childhood was understanding how Worchestershire sauce could POSSIBLY be pronounced 'Wooster' sauce. I could read the bottle, and I could hear what my mom was saying, and there was zero overlap between those two streams.

    In my head, I still pronounce it 'wor-chester-shire'.
    Haha. I'm from California. We say wusturshur, but I think of it as worse-ter-shire.
    Last edited by WriteMinded; 11-12-2017 at 08:14 PM.

  21. #71
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    21,555
    The county of Worcestershire is pronounces Wooster-shrrr, but when it's the sauce it's wooster sauce. You drop the shrrr when you're talking about the sauce.

    (Note also that Sheffield, where I live, is the home of Henderson's Relish, which is very much like worcestershire sauce but milder and not so much to my taste. But if you can't find the real thing, Henderson's is an acceptable substitute. I hear it's very good in a bloody mary.)

  22. #72
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    On the Server
    Posts
    13,287
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    The county of Worcestershire is pronounces Wooster-shrrr, but when it's the sauce it's wooster sauce. You drop the shrrr when you're talking about the sauce.
    Welsh is a much more sensible language than English, which gives us Cholmondeley.

    It took weeks for me to connect Chomondeley with CHUM-lee.

  23. #73
    practical experience, FTW indianroads's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    545
    To me, Welsh sounds like someone gargling... but, before I studied Irish - that language sounded like people talking backwards.

  24. #74
    practical experience, FTW bombergirl69's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    1,462
    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    Welsh is a much more sensible language than English...
    Perhaps, but do you speak Welsh fluently? The mutations! Even native speakers can make mistakes! It varies a lot (like English, i.e., thought, enough, ghetto ) both by word and definitely by location (north varies a lot from south!) If one is an English speaker, it is far, far easier to learn by ear first and not try to read the words (learn them later!) I think learning mutations by ear is easier as well!

    I could pick an even harder one than Sadhbh...hmmm
    The fact that there's a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.

  25. #75
    practical experience, FTW bombergirl69's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    1,462
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    To me, Welsh sounds like someone gargling... but, before I studied Irish - that language sounded like people talking backwards.
    Try listening to the music--gorgeous! not just the choruses but women like Gwyneth Glyn or bands like Cowbois rhos botwnnog! I think the language (when spoken by a fluent speaker, not by a goober like me!) sounds like people singing!
    The fact that there's a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search