Question: "High" concepts in Fantasy

Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Tue Mar 4 14:51:26 EST 2003

Margaret said...
> 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.)

I can't speak to Scots Gaelic, but Irish Gaelic (or just Irish, as we call
it) is perfectly pronounceable - once you know the pronunciation rules (just
like German or Italian or Russian, really).

>  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).

You managed Dun Laoghaire, but can you pronounce

Droichead Nua

...? :-)
> The point of this can we be sure that Cthulhu isn't
> pronounced Coaly by the, er, locals?

Hee hee.

> 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.

I know I've seen such an explication, but I can't think where just now.

(I don't know about you or the other writers on the list, but I actively try
to make made-up names pronounceable rather than confusing - not but what
they sometimes get confusing anyway.)

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be
- O. Cromwell

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