1. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Names for places, continents, countries, cities and so on

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Meteor, Nov 17, 2012.

    Hello and thank you all for taking the time to read this.


    I'm here to ask about advice for coming up with names for particular regions or nations or continents. I've tried a few random generators and all the names just seem so out there I think, "Wow that's dumb, no one would get hitched on that.", and its becoming a real hindrance. I just can't seem to make anything work or fit so I re-read some of the Legend of Drizzt to see how those names came out. They all just seem to go in place so perfectly and its really frustrating that I can't think of good names. My world isn't a D&D type world or anything like that so I guess that's why the names just don't seem to fit. Any advice?



    Thank you again for taking the time to read this.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're just going to have to think of some names. It's part of writing. BTW, I don't think I'd look for inspiration in the Legend of Drizzt (I haven't read it) because "Drizzt" is a very ugly name, at least IMO.

    Be aware, though, that readers will see the names you use differently from the way you do. Names you find ugly and clumsy may be exciting and tantalizing to your readers.
     
  3. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    I guess its time to get the gears turning then. Thank you for the post.
     
  4. aljosa
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    aljosa New Member

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    I found a nice workaround for this specific issue. I have an extensive background in comparative historical linguistics, so when I had to find loads of proper nouns for personal names and geographical locations, here's what I did:

    -I made up a phonetic system for a (constructed) language from which the names originated. Mine only has voiced consonants, for example. (That is typologically unattested, I believe, but I tried to make it as believable as possible.)
    -I arbitrarily chose sound rules, dictating how sounds from Slovenian (in your case that would be English) could transform into sounds of this constructed language. For example, English has the sound "p". If the constructed language doesn't have it, but has "f", you could posit a rule that says every "p" in English turns into a "f" in this new language. I did this for about 75% of all sounds in Slovenian.
    -I then created a few context-dependent rules, which supercede the previous rules. For example, if that "p" were followed by an "e", it wouldn't turn to "f", but rather "w". So, if you used this one rule: "pat" > "fat", but "pet" > "wet".
    -Finally, I chose limitations on syllable construction. For example, you could say your language can't have clusters of three consonants in a row; in that case you would create a rule, which is applied at the end of the process, eliminating all the consonants after the first two. So, "construction" > "consuction".
    -Then I went to my Facebook account, wrote down the names of about a hundred friends, and started converting their first and last names through the rules I created.
    -Their names were completely unrecognizable by this point and no one could make the connection, because I made my rules quite complex and bizarre. (With my rules, "John Smith" becomes "Shooni".)
    -As a final touch, I went through the names, found any that could still be possibly recognized and threw them out, while changing a few sounds here and there to make the usable names sound cooler or more appealing.
    -I then shuffled them, so not even I would know which name derives from which to avoid any possibly bias when choosing how to name people and places.
    -I now have a list of about 100 proper nouns that I can expand at any time should the need arise.

    So, yeah, it's convoluted, but I'm really satisfied with the results.
     

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