Sometimes when I create a world and live in it long enough, I forget that readers who get my books don’t know how I imagined something to look or sound. Add to that the fact that I’m not a native speaker of English, and things get complicated.
This issue was brought to my attention recently from two different readers with two different questions.
The first had to do with the meaning of names and foreign words in the text. I wanted to give the Seven Islands a feeling of not being exactly like our world, and using such words and names helped paint the picture, I believe. Yet, the reader had a perfectly valid point – how about a glossary? So, I added such a glossary at the end of each book, and you can also find it in the “Rex Rising” section of this blog. 🙂
The second reader wanted to know how the names were pronounced. I admit I hadn’t given this any thought at all… Bad me. I mean, I know exactly how they are pronounced, but I never thought that there might be different ways to pronounce them. To my defence, in Greek you pronounce the words the way you see them, and there aren’t any options, so sometimes I forget that in English this isn’t so… and also that the way I read a name in English (influenced by my Greek heritage and my Latin lessons back at school) might differ.
So, here is a brief guide to the names I consider essential. Feel free to ask me for more if you want! (i’m marking with bold the stress on the word)
Hera: He-ra (as in “her”)
Gultur: Gool-toor (I understand from the way my friends write the word they read it as “Gultar” – that’s alright. The Gultur themselves pronounce it differently from us mere mortals…) 😉
Is this helpful or not? Let me know! 🙂 Happy reading.
Pronunciation is rarely an issue; I mean, George R. R. Martin has said that people can pronounce his characters’ names however they want, and never given any thought to it at all.
I’d pronounce most of those the way you do, with an exception or two.
Thanks for the comment, David! I think it depends on the reader and what trips them up in a story. I generally don’t mind either, but obviously some people do want to know… And I don’t mind telling them how the names sound to me. I don’t think it will change the way a name is pronounced in a reader’s mind even if they know that. I know when I read how Jocelyn is pronounced in the Kushiel series of Jacqueline Carey, I was shocked. And in my mind, I still pronounce it the way I did before… 😀
Ha, that is actually quite helpful. The others I managed to muddle through, but I was never quite sure how to pronounce Kalaes 😀
Glad it helped! 🙂