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Looking for name/language resources...

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by ChasingSuns, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    So I am hitting a brick wall with some character names. There is an old language that I am sort of in the super early stages of developing for my story, and I want it to be consistent. The language uses a lot of double vowels, and in some cases, apostrophes to separate particular syllables. Some examples of names of places/tribes/factions include Gardon'Nya, Dren'Nagha, Illythraani, Galgaduun, and Kholgaaru. There is another kingdom called Dungramor that uses the same language. What I am looking for is a language or possibly languages that may follow any similar patterns. I am hoping to gather some inspiration for certain character names and whatnot. Any ideas?
  2. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    No real-world language parallels spring to mind, but I might suggest the Rinkworks fantasy name generator. You can specify the number of syllables, consonant/vowel patterns, and apostrophes, which would be helpful for complex names like those. I feel like it's pretty rare that that generator spits out a name that I actually want to use, but it can give you interesting roots and pieces.
    ChasingSuns likes this.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    If you are looking for a plethora of vowels, try Finnish.

    Apostrophes aren't phonemes. They get invented by literate cultures to capture certain unvoiced characteristics (such as a dropped letter). So you really are not going to find any ancient tongues with apostrophes. The closest might be modern renditions of tribal languages, which are essentially the invention of linguists and anthropologists. Neither of those being my field, I don't have any references for you. But the linguistics alley is the best bet.
    ChasingSuns likes this.
  4. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    Thanks for the tips everyone! I will definitely look into these. It's definitely been something that's holding up my thought pattern with this project haha.
  5. Aly

    Aly Dreamer

    Good luck with the name generating.

    I think this is a common theme for all writers, probably not just fantasy writers. I agonize over mine. Your characters, every one of them that you 'bring to life', are always going to be partly defined by a name. In a made up language the sound of the name is very important and for more traditional names the meaning behind it can also be critical.

    One thing with 'made up' names and exotic spellings - human brains try to make sense of the words when they are reading. I've seen names that I (and others) kept misreading as an English word and completely tripped over every time, having to go back and re-read the sentence just to make sense of it. Oh the pitfalls of naming!
  6. HylianShield

    HylianShield Acolyte

    As a reader and a writer, I might caution against too many apostrophes and double letters, lest they grow stale and cliche to your reader. I remember playing a game called Ninety Nine Nights, where every single name of every character and every city had a double vowel in it. It irritated me so much that I couldn't stand to play it anymore. While I'm probably a minority in that I grow bored of patterns easily, and also detest overcomplicated names I have to struggle to pronounce, it might bear keeping in mind if there are others like me who are reading your work.

    You can make names out of anything from simple typos and misreading words to carefully constructing them yourself. Here's a list of my characters' names from my novel, The Keybearer Saga: Riftkey

    Calen (Male, name I wanted to use for a long time)
    Evrian (Male, came from messing with the English word "Ever")
    Telle (Female, typo)
    Raiah (Female, shortened form of Zakuraiah, which came from messing with Zachariah)
    Blaize (Male, came from messing with the English word "Blaze")
    Eureon (Male, pronounced YUR-ee-un)
    Eulalia (Female, pronounced yoo-LAY-lee-ah, pulled from a baby names site under Italian Names)
    Andralus (Male, on-the-spot name I created in a game)
    Maika (Female, came from messing with Mike, shortened form of Michael)
    Eriani (Female, came from messing with Erin)
    Kiriya (Female, came from messing with Kara, then Kirin)

    Perhaps the hardest name to pronounce in this list is Eulalia. As such, she is central to the plot, but in such a way that does not directly involve her with the reader for more than a mention every once in a while, and even then, she can be referred to as "Eureon's sister" with ease. The rest of the names are sufficiently unique to make the story stand out, but also easy to pronounce, which will aid in ease of reading.

    These are just my personal opinions and some of my methods for naming. Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
    HellionHeloise and valiant12 like this.
  7. spectre

    spectre Sage

    Phonemes and leximes. Read about linguistics. Gotta think of letters as symbols moreso than pronunciations. Syllables just mark a word or emotional incorporation unto another. The Apostrophe is a conjunction of two words or ideas. At least that's my understanding.
  8. Barian Bedrich

    Barian Bedrich Acolyte

    I know a nice little program Download Lyreword from SourceForge.net. One function is machine learning, you put lists of words into this program, and the program give you a list with similiar words.
    The other function is syllable based, its more like a random generator.
    You can change the language into english under extras.
    Take all the words you have constructed and the program gives you similiar words.

    Its very easy.:)
  9. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    Yesterday I downloaded the Everchanging Book of Names, which I'm loving so far.

    A description of what it does from the site:

    The algorithm uses chapter files that contain lists of vowelic and consonantal elements that names can be constructed of, and further information for fitting them together and checking whether the generated name is good enough. To achieve this goal, EBoN utilizes name structures, maximum frequencies for a particular letter appearing in a name, minimum distances between occurences of a particular letter, valid prefixes & suffixes etc. etc. Though seemingly complex, these options can be wholly ignored by the basic user. They will be automatically set to optimal configuration when a chapter is opened.​

    An example:


    It's shareware, has a "core" set of 12 "chapters" that are largely templates from familiar works, and you can generate 100 names at a time, select those you like, and save them to a list.

    There are multiple sets of user-created "chapters" also that you can download, but without registering the shareware you can only generate 5 names at a time from those. You can, however, keep generating new sets of 5, so they are useful, just not as simple as generating 100 at a time. So for instance, here are 5 names generated from a Northern European-Swedish set of variables:


    Now, I really like this program. But I'm worried that it may not be fully supported by its creator, because it's a fairly old program and because I followed the registration process yesterday–involved sending a gift card through Amazon UK–and I haven't yet received the instructions and script for "unlocking" it so that I can use those additional "chapters" without the 5-name limit for each random generation. I'm not too worried about the amount I sent–£7.00, or a little over $11 US–because I don't mind supporting the shareware; and, it's been less than 24 hours since I sent the registration. But I'd like to have the registered version of the software. If anyone here has been able to successfully register it recently, I'd love to know.
    arboriad likes this.
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    An update for the Everchanging Book of Names: I have, indeed, been able to register the software. Its creator replied to my registration just now. I would note again, if I wasn't clear before, that the software is quite usable in its unregistered free version. The only limitation on the free version: any data set packages besides the 12 "core chapters" will only allow you to generate 5 names at a time—but you can keep repeating the process for 5 new names at a time from that data set.

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