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How to spell my evil queen's name

Discussion in 'World Building' started by AstralCat, May 30, 2013.

  1. AstralCat

    AstralCat Scribe

    I've got an unnecessarily complicated problem about how I should spell the main antagonist's name in my book. Brace yourselves. x_x

    So, I have an antagonist. She's of the evil-queen archetype, but I won't discuss her many complexities here because it has nothing to do with her name. I've been calling her Aeirlana, which is pronounced "Air-lah-nah", but I fear that the average person will not look at the word Aeirlana and get the correct pronunciation from it.

    ...that said, most of the names in the language of Aeirlana's people are kind of on the weirdly-spelt side. But I've made it a point to make most of the characters' names sound like how they look, just for simplicity's sake.

    I've begun considering spelling it "Aerlana" instead. But that would also change another person's name. Aeirlana's name means "Moon-born", and she is called such because her people see her as the physical incarnation of the Moon Goddess, whom they simply call Aeir, (Literally "Moon"). So therefore if Aeirlana becomes Aerlana, then Aeir becomes Aer. And I'm not sure whether or not I like those spellings. Particularly Aer because it looks less powerful now. x_x

    Alternatively I considered Jeirlana and Jeir, (because Js in their language are pronounced like Ys. As in Mjolnir.) but that just makes the problem worse. ._.

    What do you guys think? Any spelling suggestions? What would you have guessed "Aeirlana" is pronounced like?
  2. The Unseemly

    The Unseemly Troubadour

    I actually think you're unnecessarily straining yourself. "Aeir" sounds like "air," so no problems there, and the "lana" is also pretty phonetic to pronounce. The name rolls nicely off the tongue, I don't see any great issue with the pronounciation, so my personal suggestion is to keep it. Plain and Simple.
    AstralCat likes this.
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I will admit, the "i" gave me a second's pause... but only a second. You're not adding a silent "q" to the name and pronouncing it "Bob," and you're not attempting anything along the lines of Gaelic or, heaven help us, Welsh, so I would say give your readers the benefit of the doubt and run with it. Visually, it is a lovely name, both strong and feminine. I like it. Without the "i" it kind of reminds me of a car tire. No idea why.
    AstralCat likes this.
  4. advait98

    advait98 Sage

    Bah, it's all right. It might take a second for the eyes to roll over that, but when it does, it's great. Aeirlana. Yeah, it's good. Good to say out loud. I don't think anyone would have any problem with the pronunciation. Jeirlana and Jeir sound peculiar to me though. So, don't worry about Aeirlana. It's great. Run with it.
    AstralCat likes this.
  5. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

    Aeirlana. Lana is self-explanitory, but what about Aeir?

    When two vowels are together, The first makes a sound and the second is ignored. Except that there are dozens of exceptions to the rules.

    When I look at Aeir, it does look like Air. So, keep it the way it is.
    AstralCat likes this.
  6. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    Looks like I'm the lone voice of disagreement here... "Aeir" looks like two syllables to me. Aye-eer.
  7. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    I think it might be worth trimming her name to Aerlana to be on the safe side; it bugs readers not to be sure they can hear a name in their heads. But you don't have to trim Aeir itself, because maybe people named after primal forces don't use the complete spelling in their names. The person's name might be simplified by language drift that the higher term stayed above, or just a gesture of respect for the real Moon.
  8. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    This is how I read it too.

    But pronunciation isn't a problem if you include a pronunciation guide. I always find those useful when they are included with books that have hard to pronounce names.
  9. AstralCat

    AstralCat Scribe

    I have considered pronunciation guides. I've seen them in some fantasy books that I like and find them useful. ...And I'm especially considering it because Aeirlana isn't the only one with pronunciation issues. There are character names (Kaiyokku, Eisden, Eyrom, Daljagar), Places (Nafuwyr, Mjurgath, Rueguul, Keijmar), and stuff (Daunai, Ajen, Rhem'zalansa, Kanric Aein) that all have questionable pronunceations. XD;

    And actually I would not mind if people pronounced it "Aye-eer"

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