Question: "High" concepts in Fantasy

Margaret Ball margaret at
Tue Mar 4 11:02:21 EST 2003

>there does seem to be a kind of pleasure to be got from
>training oneself to remember very long names
and a comparable pleasure from being able to pronounce 
you'd-never-guess-it-from-the-spelling names....although that may be 
limited to the English-reading world, since most languages have adopted 
writing systems that give you at least a fair shot at pronouncing what's 
been written down.(Okay, not Gaelic. Gaelic isn't a language, it's an 
attitude.)  Deciphering English place names, though, seems to be on a 
par with reading Mayan glyphs. Central Texas has its own set of traps 
for the stranger, but you British must have the most godawful collection 
of nothing-like-it's-spelled names - both English and Gaelic -  in the 
civilised world.
 I expect you're used to it by now, but I'm still proud of myself for 
knowing that Kirkcudbright was really Kirkoobry even before we went 
there, and that Dun Laoghire was Dun Leary to the locals. (okay, that's 
not quite Great Britain, but close).

The point of this can we be sure that Cthulhu isn't 
pronounced Coaly by the, er, locals? And can we think of any fantasy 
novel in which it's explicitly stated that Lord Xochipitl's name is 
pronounced Shoppit? I can't, but I bet somebody on this list can come up 
with an example.

Margaret Ball

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