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Naming Factions and Countries

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Lucus The First, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. Lucus The First

    Lucus The First Acolyte

    Hello everyone! New wannabe-writer here, searching for answers from experienced writers. I hope everyone is doing well, and without further ado, my query.

    Doing my best not to bore you, I've recently begun working on low-fantasy novel set somewhere equivalent to our real world 1890's-1910's, telling the story of two brothers who 'list in their Nation's Army with dreams of glory, but come to find that war truely is hell for all parties involved. This goes doubly for the Elves, Dwarves, Orc-oids, Centaurs, and other 'magical' creatures who have been conscripted to defend those who shun them.

    I have most everything I need in terms of technology, the role of magic, races, a general history, and factions planned out.....only, the factions and the Countries who make up their members are nameless!

    Am I asking for names? No, but if you have any, please don't hesitate to share with an intellectual and linguisticly inferior being such as myself. What I'm looking for is conventions, rules, and tips for naming Countries, especially based on their real world inspirations.

    The Groups needing names most desperately are as follows:

    The Antagonists: Germanic-Inspired Kingdom that resides in suet-filled valleys and hilltop fortresses-cities in the West, whose industry has all but completely ruined the surrounding countryside. They rely on a vast military, advanced technology, and dark creatures to conquer their neighbors, mostly for agricultural resources. Despite their role as the antagonist nation, they are perhaps more humane than most other Nations, openly supporting Orcs, Trolls, Drow, and other dark races as Citizens in their Kingdom.

    The Protagonists: Still debating on whether I want to take more Influences from France or England for the Protagonists' nation, but Caledonia or something derived from that sound decent. Still, would kill to get anything that ended in "-tannia" for the English inspired nation.

    The Ugly Bois: And here we go.....the Nordic guys. I suck at Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish language, nevermind meshing things together. Any help here would be appreciated.

    And that all for today. I don't want to make a habit of relying on others for all my ideas, but It never hurts to ask for help every so often.

    Cheers all, and Merry Christmas Season to you all.
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    This is one route I use and where [Google] Translate can come in useful.
    As a first step, type the words that make up your idea of the nation and translate them into the languages of the root nations you are inspired by [German, Danish, Swedish etc] and see what comes back.
    Step two is to use those words to riff off. Combine them, switch syllables around things like that. Something may work.
    But if you are like me, you will probably say 'No none of these work!!! What I want is XXXYYY!' and then you will have found it
    All that said... Don't be afraid to use a placeholder name until the right name comes along.
    In my wip have a character called "Whingy" because they complain a lot and I haven't got their "real" name yet. It may last as their nickname.
    Lucus The First likes this.
  3. Lucus The First

    Lucus The First Acolyte

    Thank you for your input! I must be on the right track, as that was my initial reaction to needing names.

    I think I've narrowed it down to only a few names from the Antagonists:

    das Königreich der Totenheim

    das Königreich der Schornsteine

    das Königreich der Draufgänheim

    daa Königreich der Dräkenheim

    I also like Esienwald or Esienreich, but Esienwald is better as a town name.
    CupofJoe likes this.
  4. Firefly

    Firefly Troubadour

    What I like to do, somewhat similar to the Google Translate method, is take a whole bunch of actual place names from wherever I'm taking inspiration from and start looking for patterns. I'll try and make up a few based off of that, but If I don't like it, I'll just at some more of the actual place names and start switching letters around. I usually prefer to have my inspiration be slightly less obvious, so a lot of times I do both.
    One thing to be careful about when using words from foreign languages though is that you want to make sure their still recognizable to the reader. And unless the words were very obviously English based (or whatever language your writing in) Like, the Valley of Lonely Shadows or something like that, I would probably avoid something super long that could be easily confused in the readers mind. You could use something like just Konigreich, or Esien. It doesn't have to actually make sense in German.
    But of course, naming things is subjective, so you can do whatever you want. But those are just a few of my tips : )
    Lucus The First likes this.
  5. Lucus The First

    Lucus The First Acolyte

    Thanks! Went through a bunch of names, which will make for good city names and such, but for the Antagonist Nation, I've chosen Eukadia. I got it after playing Mount and Blade while listening to Erika with my headphones on. I was about to enter the city of Uxhal when the music stopped at the exact time I said the city name out loud, creating 'Euxhal'. I paused my game and wrote that down, thinking I would forget it. It came back to me when watching a video on the Fall of Cadia. Eucadia. The C looking odd, so I switched it for a K. Eukadia. Messed around Translate with Euk- as a prefix and eventually found out where such a Nation's name could originate from: Eukaue, "Euk-river"; probably named after some ancient Barbarian Monarch or Hero; Eukar or Eukara. Not going that far into lore-building, though. XD

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