1. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    Old English pronunciation

    Discussion in 'Research' started by King Arthur, Mar 9, 2016.

    Does anyone here know how to pronounce Old English names?

    I have a list along with how I think they might be pronounced:

    Aelle (Alluh)
    Cissa (Chissa)
    Cymen (Chy-men)
    Wlencing (Vlen-ching)
    Cerdic (Chair-ditch)
    Cynric (Chin-rich)
    Creoda (Kray-odda)
    Ealawyn (Ay-alla-win)
    Ebissa (Ay-bissa)
    Oisc (Oysk)
    Octa (Ok-ta)
    Colgren (Chol-grain)
    Baldulph (Bald-dulf)
    Freawine (Fray-a-vine)
    Aethelfled (Affel-fled)
    Wotan (Vo-tan)
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This link provides some info on pronouncing words in Old English. You can use it as a guide. There are several other good websites out there as well.
     
  3. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Looks good to me. Most importantly, I don't think your readers will have any troubles with these names, even if they don't pronounce them the same as you do. "Julius Caesar" should be pronounced "YOU-lious KAY-sar" and not "Julius SEIZE-her" but nobody, myself included, pronounces it the "correct" way... and it doesn't matter, unless the name's spelling is so obscure that it can't be approximated.
     
  4. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    The problem is, in the way some readers will pronounce them, it will sound like (ahem):

    "Kinker Dick" for King Cerdic or "King Sir Dick"
    "Kink Hymen" for King Cymen
    "King Kisser" for King Cissa

    Quite awkward names outside of their original pronunciation.
     
  5. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    My knowledge of OE phonology is a little rusty, but I'd pronounce them as above.
     
  6. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    In Old English, all c's followed by a vowel are pronounced as ch, emphasis is put on the first syllable and w is pronounced as v. The OP list seems to be more or less completely accurate.
     
  7. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had a similar problem with my main female characters in my WIP, a Chinese girl with Roman ancestry who was translator for the group. Her Latin name was Marcia Lucia, after her ancestor five generations back, but her Hanaean name was "Si Hoar," pronounced "She Whar" meaning "Western Flower." I was very fond of that name because I picked it myself, and I don't speak Chinese. Chinese speakers thought it was an unusual name, but then she was an unusual girl from an unusual subculture, so it fit. However, someone pointed out that it might be read as "She Whore" and since the lover she began with frequently called her a whore, that might cause problems. A simple global spelling change to "Si Huar" minimizes that, and is closer to the correct pronunciation also.

    You might try introducing your kings with the old English konig, immediately clarifying that they were the king of such and such. Konig Cerdic is less likely to have that problem, and adds a bit more local flavor. I introduced my Xiongnu leader as shanyu Bei, head of all the Huyan clan, and thereafter just as "the shanyu" or "Shanyu Bei". Not one of 25 readers have complained.
     
  8. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    Wouldn't it be Cerdic Cyning? Konig is modern german, closest I could find was Gothic Kuning (not that Cerdic is a Goth in any case). Old English is definitely Cyning, and it would be an epithet rather than a title.
     
  9. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Right, your area, not mine! That looks like the solution to the problem you cited. I always italicize foreign words, and immediately translate on first use (or more oten, if they are used infrequently that the reader may forget them). At least it comes behind so it won't be "Cunning Sir Dick!"
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So... you posted a thread asking people how to pronounce certain words... which you already knew how to pronounce?

    I get the feeling you're really excited about your book and want to talk about it, and that's totally excellent. But maybe you could just make a Progress Journal post or something? Most of your posts seem to be in the form of questions you don't really want answered, and it's making things a bit weird. I mean, no competent reader of English is going to pronounce "King Cymen" as "Kink Hymen". And if somebody does? Oh well - not anything you can control.
     

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