Fantasy books can be challenging when it comes to names of people, places, and things, and as a reader I’ve stumbled over many of them. I’ve had times I’ve been so flummoxed over a name in a fantasy I’ve simply given up trying to pronounce it in my head as I read and I either skip it or I give the person or place my own nickname. Ekancionakasjnwi becomes Eka or just E. Yes, I just typed a bunch of random-ass letters because sometimes that’s exactly how fantasy names feel, don’t you think? LOL!
And then there are the instances where a name seems straightforward in its pronunciation, but you find out later that’s not how the author intended it to be pronounced. I think most everyone across the universe (including the ebook narrator and in all the movies) pronounced the villain in Harry Potter as VOWL (rhymes with bowl)-da-mort. Many years later, J.K. Rowling let slip that in her mind it was always supposed to be VOWL-da-mor, with the t at the end remaining silent. Obviously it wasn’t a big deal to her that people were mispronouncing it as she intended or she would have said something when the movies were made, if not before. But nonetheless, we all had it wrong based on how she, the creator, heard it in her head.
In that vein, I’ve been asked many times over the years how some of the words in my Draegan Lords series are meant to be pronounced. As I’ve written the series, I’ve intentionally tried not to use too many mumbly-jumbly, alphabet-soupy fantasy names. But, ultimately, I’ve still written some that have, apparently, tripped up readers. I have a brief pronunciation guide on my FAQ page, but I thought it might be fun to also do a blog post about it.
So for those of you who have read (or will read) my Draegan Lords series, here’s how *I* pronounce these fantasy words:
- First off, the word draegan…I pronounce it DRAY-gun. I’m including it here because I’ve actually had a few readers tell me they always thought it was “dragon” and I just spelled it a funky way.
- The biggest one I get asked about is the endearment Keiran and Gaige use for one another, m’aerlas. I pronounce it MAIR-loss. (Mair rhymes with air or bear.)
- Kellesborne I pronounce with three syllables: KELL-ess-born.
- The endearment Wen uses with Wesley, m’caire, I prounce like muh-CAIR. (Rhymes with stair or bear)
- Draeganjhere is pronounced pretty much like it looks…DRAY-gun-jhear (with the jh sounding like the French g in the word mirage).
- Ondaen is pronounced ON-dain. (Rhymes with rain or train)
- Moh’dredion is pronounced Mo-DRED-ee-un.
- The ancient language Byram uses in his grimoire, Mok’illish, is pronounced mock-ILL-ish (but imagine it being said in a sort of guttural orc-like tone).
- Wen’s younger brothers are: Jarrad (JER-ud–the same way Americans pronounce the name Jared), Allend (I pronounce this one like the name Allen, simply with a d at the end. So: AL-lend). And Edric (Just like it looks: ED-rick).
- I pronounce the elf Eliessán‘s name: el-ee-uh-SAWN.
- Delik, the type of trees you can find in Velensperia, I pronounce it like it looks: DEL-ick
- Velensperia is: vel-un-SPEER-ee-uh.
- Rhum, the drink, is the same as rum in our world, a la Captain Morgan. 🙂 (I imagine rhum as being spiced like Captain Morgan. The draegans like spice in general, since they also drink spiced tea!)
- Elorium, the metal of which Gaige and Keiran’s true-mate bracelets are made (and the vrieg Gaige carries) is pronounced: el-LORE (rhymes with door)-ee-um
- Vrieg (the short knife) is: vreeg
- Ingil, the potion Gaige’s grandmother gives him in Fires of Ballian that allows him to visit Keiran in his dreams. I pronounce it: ING-gil
Again, I say, this is how I have always pronounced these words as I’ve written the series. But you will absolutely not be incinerated by draegan fire if you pronounce them some other way. LOL! It is, after all, fantasy.
If you think of any others I haven’t included here, by all means let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!
Edited March 21, 2018… I moved my blog from SquareSpace back to Word Press. I was able to transfer the posts, but, sadly, not the old comments from the other site. So I’m going to cut and paste them here at the bottom of the post so they’re not lost. I particularly appreciated the discussion with Tory about ingil and the question about Hallan and Logan from Elf and Shoemaker. 🙂