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Bethelamon
April 5th, 2007, 09:51 AM
Hi! Im still in the worldbuilding process of my novel, and am having great fun with it.

I've got a lot of place names for my world, and have recently decided I needed to standardize them, reallocating them around my world.
These names were mostly from the top of my head, but obviously alot of them have similar aspects, particularly endings.
I've gathered them together and put them into groups bases primarily on their endings. For instance, its odd to have a city called Ellanhad on one side of the continent and a country called Vallanhad on the other side of the continent. Through this process, Ellanhad and Vallanhad become neighbouring regions of one country. Just an example.

So here are all the groups of names, and a final group of names which have no connection with any others!

Some are cities, some are countries, some are other things. I won't say which, and this is getting shifted around a bit too. If there are any which you think definately sound like cities, countries, or whatever, say so, 'cause that will help.

Im not looking for any detailed criticism here, just for you to scan through and point out any which you really like the sound of, and any which you think just sound off. If there is one name here which you think is ridiculous, you have no idea how to pronounce it, or whatever, point it out to me!

Ardiegna
Nebriegna
Teriegna

Caldurn
Aradurn

Alvenia
Mestenetia
Aranetia
Elsenia
Nethria

Diranhad
Ellanhad
Vallanhad

Maragalen
Amagalen

Heradheim
Vienheim
Beradheim

Lhaemad
Numad
Sulgharad
Esgharad
Dheramad

Elsterin
Celdin
Methin

Tunerion
Magretanion
Ciranion

Vennimair
Hiranmair
Lannimair

Vennindorf
Marindorf

Marinagon
Tarinon

Calanior
Arignarn
Sachikata
Haranadin
Acoria
Darenarc
Gulden
Naleag
Diranec
D'artec
Aramas
Altanasea
Hoche
Heminold
Bruin
Aram
Dumbar
Galeb
Mallanor
Reanne
Dainaith
Cimmuran
Antirol

And of course, if there are any you notice which already exsist, please tell me!

The ones I particularly like are Antirol, Ardiegna, Maragalen, Numad, Esgharad, Methin, Vennimair, Vennindorf, Marindorf, Calanior, Marinagon, Darenarc, Aramas, Tarinon, Bruin, Reanne and Dumbar. I will have to make sure all these places feature heavily in my novel, so I can use these names alot, rather than just briefly mention each one once as some unrelated far-off land!

And now I invite you to share any of your place names with everyone, and discuss any thoughts you have on creating names for imaginary worlds.

AgentRustyBones
April 5th, 2007, 11:07 AM
Bethelamon:

Naming conventions for world place names can be a lot of fun. It is one of the most enjoyable aspects of world creation, finding names that fit and make sense in the context of the world that I am creating.

In general, when I use place names that have common endings, like you have in some of the grouping that you show in your post, like these:

"Diranhad
Ellanhad
Vallanhad

Maragalen
Amagalen

Heradheim
Vienheim
Beradheim"

I try to come up with a standardized meaning for the similar word endings. For example, in one particular language group in your world, the ending of '-heim' could be something like 'town' or 'burg'. Unique endings to city or town names like that that are unique to one region or another helps to create the illusion of a world that developed organically with the expansion and migration of particular groups of people, much like our own world developed.

I would use the groups quoted above as city or town names, with the endings helping to denote that size or tyype of city (or fort or castle) one would expect to find there--knowing of course that some cities or towns outgrow their quaint names over time.

With names that end in 'ia' or 'egna', those name sound to me, more like country or regional names, perhaps leftover as provincial names from some now defunct empire--much like the Roman Empire left behind provincial and regional names that survived the fall of the empire itself.

Those names ending in 'ia' or 'egna' could also be country names used by peoples who share the same language, but are now divided into smaller realms--such as when a larger kingdom or empire breaks up over political squabbles.

The harsher sounding names, ending in 'ec' or 'ad' sound like either non-human place names, or barbarian-type place names. Perhaps dwarven, orcish, or some warlike human barbarians

The 'in' and 'ion' names sound elvish or fey to me.

My point is that if there are multiple intelligent races, or multiple human language groups (or both), that the place names will likely have some sort of logic based on who has historically controlled a place, or who owns it now. Some places may have multiple names. One name given by the elves who hold the forest dear, while the orcs who have taken it over have a different name for it.

Having in mind a general outlay of the pre-history of your world will help you figure out a naming system that works and is consistent within that world.

Hope this helps.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones

Bethelamon
April 5th, 2007, 12:24 PM
Thanks for the reply!
I agree completely with everything you said.



In general, when I use place names that have common endings, like you have in some of the grouping that you show in your post, like these:

"Diranhad
Ellanhad
Vallanhad

Maragalen
Amagalen

Heradheim
Vienheim
Beradheim"
...

...I would use the groups quoted above as city or town names, with the endings helping to denote that size or tyype of city (or fort or castle) one would expect to find there--knowing of course that some cities or towns outgrow their quaint names over time.

Seems to make sense! I had the 'heims' already planned as cities, but not the others really. At one point 'Diranhad' was a country, but thinking about it seems much better as a city.


With names that end in 'ia' or 'egna', those name sound to me, more like country or regional names, perhaps leftover as provincial names from some now defunct empire--much like the Roman Empire left behind provincial and regional names that survived the fall of the empire itself.

Those names ending in 'ia' or 'egna' could also be country names used by peoples who share the same language, but are now divided into smaller realms--such as when a larger kingdom or empire breaks up over political squabbles.


Oh yes, definately! I've got alot of great empires which have since been disbanded or at least reduced in size. Ardiegna, Nebriegna and Teriegna used to all be states of the Arcian Empire, and are now indepedent nations after the empire disbanded.


The harsher sounding names, ending in 'ec' or 'ad' sound like either non-human place names, or barbarian-type place names. Perhaps dwarven, orcish, or some warlike human barbarians

My world features just humans - no elves, dwarves etc. But there will be some deserted wasteland ordeals, perhaps names like Diranec suit a wasteland.


Having in mind a general outlay of the pre-history of your world will help you figure out a naming system that works and is consistent within that world.

Oh believe me, Im working on a SERIOUSLY detailed history of my world, and am taking great pleasure in working out how all the nations developed and the world got to how it is 'today'.


Hope this helps.

Sure does, thanks!

Michael B
April 6th, 2007, 02:47 AM
I try to come up with a standardized meaning for the similar word endings. For example, in one particular language group in your world, the ending of '-heim' could be something like 'town' or 'burg'. Unique endings to city or town names like that that are unique to one region or another helps to create the illusion of a world that developed organically with the expansion and migration of particular groups of people, much like our own world developed.
With all due respect that just is a world with towns that are next to each having similar names. Let me elaborate on this.

I live in an English town the name of which ends in ham because it was founded by Saxons. The two nearest towns have names end in cester because they were founded by Romans. I work in another town that ends in don because it was founded by Saxons.

I live southern England so there was no Viking colonisation. If I lived in northern England that would add another group of names.

If all the towns and cities in an area were founded by people speaking the same or a similar language then you might get uniformity. However, an invasion by a people speaking a different language would add a different set of names. An example of this is York, England whose name is derived from the Viking Jorvik. The city however was fonded by the Romans who named in Eboracum. The name has since to transfer to New York which was originally called New Amsterdam.......

Ajax Torbin
April 7th, 2007, 02:37 AM
With all due respect that just is a world with towns that are next to each having similar names. Let me elaborate on this.

I live in an English town the name of which ends in ham because it was founded by Saxons. The two nearest towns have names end in cester because they were founded by Romans. I work in another town that ends in don because it was founded by Saxons.

I live southern England so there was no Viking colonisation. If I lived in northern England that would add another group of names.

If all the towns and cities in an area were founded by people speaking the same or a similar language then you might get uniformity. However, an invasion by a people speaking a different language would add a different set of names. An example of this is York, England whose name is derived from the Viking Jorvik. The city however was fonded by the Romans who named in Eboracum. The name has since to transfer to New York which was originally called New Amsterdam.......


i see and agree.
in my world there have been a lot of wars and your various bands of people moveing accross a wide area. in my study there are many factors involved in the naming of a place, what the places around it are named is far, far down the list of rules for that though.

in my world the following towns/places are close together:
Tanton
Eddleburg
Ganny
Bit
Teon(TA-on_like Aeon_)
Avalon
Grossneghrok (groZ-neigh-groKK)
Northridge

and these are other places
Door(DO-ER)
Cog
Kaslo (Kaz-low)
Halakalathuta (good luck with this one :)
the old kingdom of Ragnarok
Ibiern platau
The Maze
Raydawn Forest
Snowplain Forest


these are but a sample of teh names i hvae for my world.
for each i came up with had to have a feel, it had to be right for that place and for those who lived there. like, most elven places are named for their features(Snowplain) Dwarven strongholds are stern and tuogh sounding(Grossneghrok)huamn places though, vary widely thanks to teh human mind set. a more devided race you will never find, and so their naming conventions will vary widely.

AgentRustyBones
April 7th, 2007, 10:08 AM
With all due respect that just is a world with towns that are next to each having similar names. Let me elaborate on this.

"I live in an English town the name of which ends in ham because it was founded by Saxons. The two nearest towns have names end in cester because they were founded by Romans. I work in another town that ends in don because it was founded by Saxons.

I live southern England so there was no Viking colonisation. If I lived in northern England that would add another group of names.

If all the towns and cities in an area were founded by people speaking the same or a similar language then you might get uniformity. However, an invasion by a people speaking a different language would add a different set of names. An example of this is York, England whose name is derived from the Viking Jorvik. The city however was fonded by the Romans who named in Eboracum. The name has since to transfer to New York which was originally called New Amsterdam......."

I should have been clearer in stating the standardized endings for town sizes and types would only be standard in a particular language. If a region has been subject to multiple incursions, settled by more than one different people over the years, then by all means things will get mixed up.

So you have to have a feel for the different language groups in your world, the settlement and invasion patterns throughout the history leading to your time period that you are working in, before you go around plunking names on places.

If it looks random, and there is no internal logic to at least some of the place names, then it will appear that way to the reader.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones

Ajax Torbin
April 7th, 2007, 12:32 PM
perhaps i was not clear enough.
i sat down a wile back and basicly made a world, maps, cultures. everything.
my main andventures take place in the area where teh culture is patterened after the european cultures, spicificly, Celtic, Saxons, Normans. in the real world thes peoples mixed in England, and then even further in America. well i my world much the same happened, but instead of an island, or going to a differant land, they moved to teh north. the farther north you go the more intermingled the names will be. if you go south there will be clear patterns. in one area you will have a lot of 'burgs', in another, your 'hams' and 'dons', go more south-west and you get the 'vills'(a far south land of Ibiern that has a spainish feel to it)

but the point is,there are no 'rules' for naming somthing. i will use teh U.S as an exzample(because i am familiar with it.) in one state there are teh following towns, all within a hours drive of each other:

Hamton, named after the english Southhamton
Petersburg, named after the Russian city St. Petersburg.
Chinooteague, an old indian name for teh place
Portsmouth, named because thats what it is, the mouth of a port
Reedville, who knows?, named after a man called Reed i would guess.
South Hill, well, there is a hill there.
South Boston, this is my favorite, so called because it was called just, Boston, but there was another city that got more famous witn that name, so they added the south to differ themselves from just plain old Boston.(even though they are several hundred miles apart)

the point is there are a multitude of 'reasons' that a place earns a name, and race, in most cases, is only part of the list of reasons.
the questions that you should ask your self is, Where is the place, Why is the place(why is it there?), How is the place(how'd it get there?), When is teh place, (When was it bulit) and then Who built the place.

p.s. just clarifying, no digs intended

AgentRustyBones
April 7th, 2007, 08:54 PM
perhaps i was not clear enough.
i sat down a wile back and basicly made a world, maps, cultures. everything.
my main andventures take place in the area where teh culture is patterened after the european cultures, spicificly, Celtic, Saxons, Normans. in the real world thes peoples mixed in England, and then even further in America. well i my world much the same happened, but instead of an island, or going to a differant land, they moved to teh north. the farther north you go the more intermingled the names will be. if you go south there will be clear patterns. in one area you will have a lot of 'burgs', in another, your 'hams' and 'dons', go more south-west and you get the 'vills'(a far south land of Ibiern that has a spainish feel to it)

but the point is,there are no 'rules' for naming somthing. i will use teh U.S as an exzample(because i am familiar with it.) in one state there are teh following towns, all within a hours drive of each other:

Hamton, named after the english Southhamton
Petersburg, named after the Russian city St. Petersburg.
Chinooteague, an old indian name for teh place
Portsmouth, named because thats what it is, the mouth of a port
Reedville, who knows?, named after a man called Reed i would guess.
South Hill, well, there is a hill there.
South Boston, this is my favorite, so called because it was called just, Boston, but there was another city that got more famous witn that name, so they added the south to differ themselves from just plain old Boston.(even though they are several hundred miles apart)

the point is there are a multitude of 'reasons' that a place earns a name, and race, in most cases, is only part of the list of reasons.
the questions that you should ask your self is, Where is the place, Why is the place(why is it there?), How is the place(how'd it get there?), When is teh place, (When was it bulit) and then Who built the place.

p.s. just clarifying, no digs intended

True enough. There are indeed all sorts of reasons for places to get named one thing or another.

And using the US as an example is pretty interesting...place names in the US are usually in English or reference some other Old World place, whether in England or elsewhere in Europe, often in honor of where certain settlers or immigrants came from originally. Throw in various Native Amercian language place names (or English, Spanish, or French manglings of those names) and you get most place names in the Americas.

But my posts in this string were in response to Bethelamon who was asking for help/guidance/ideas on the names presented in his particular world. He presented a problem, I gave him some ideas (which he is free to use or not).

It is my personal opinion that an epic, secondary world such as he is appearing to describe, would have its own internal logic on how those names are assigned. I BELIEVE that having such a logic and pattern that is discernible to the reader and that provides clues to the culture and language of its inhabitants will help to build a better, more cohesive, and logically consistent world that readers will appreciate as they explore it.

Is race or language the sole determinant of a place name in the real world? NO.

But those things can sure as hell help make a world that I would enjoy reading about.

Doug
aka Agent Rusty Bones

Mock
April 8th, 2007, 06:19 PM
Interesting. I like the idea of naming your cities with a sense of order (i.e. by culture). For some reason this never clicked with me! Well, I guess it kind of did . . .

When I name my regions and towns I tend to try to give a certain feel to them. Not exactly culture, although there are some cultural similarities. Here are a few:


—TO STEAL THESE NAMES IS TO DIE!:)—

Sloop - a coastal town that is a stopping point for lotsa merchants, hence "Sloop," referring to a type of boat

Cyan - among my personal favorites, feels to me very sophisticated and even little bit exotic, represents Venice in a way

Lundenne - yeah, London: a bustling, burgeoning town at the crossroads of two different cultures (which are similar to Celts and Romans)

Felmont - a sturdy castle, I like -mont for castles. :D

Edinsford - just an average village on a river

Iesos - Greek-sounding, and it is actually an outpost of Greek-like people

Selshore - yeah, Sell-Shore: has lotsa rogues, a haven for pirates

Llor - a big city ruled by people similar to Celts

Starless Spires (very tall mts.) and Eaglebone Mountains - just some ranges

World Builder
April 8th, 2007, 08:16 PM
This thread got me thinking and today I decided to fill in some of the blank spots on my own map. The territory I did the most work with is the homeland of my narrator in the Big Novel and a handful of short stories. I constructed this region, originally, to have a certain folksiness, and many of the names reflect that. At the same time, I felt like contriving some linguistic heritage. Many of the names are derived from the ancient language of the region (based loosely on Gothic with hints of Welsh). For example I was already using the stem "hav-" in a lot of words, so I retroactively decided it was descended from the old word for river, "ahwa." Also, the nation is called Ithelan, derived from the old "mathal," or Forum (of the Classical variety). After getting the Gothic name settled, I usually twist it into an English word of some sort that could still fit in the semantics.

Anyhow, the names themselves, broken up by provinces.

Fathelan: Aster Run (built in the valley, in the shadow of the old city Af-Herung), White Gap, Thorn, Stag, Gaglau. The narrator of the Big Novel is from Aster Run.

Myddelan: Hoar Harbor, Ironhold, Geddals, Knothaven, High Crown (A long time ago, before I had anything settled and was naming things at random, High Crown had been called Hycaeron. Its a prominent example of twisting a "local" word into English).

Hithelan: Fargard, Havishport, Osag, Iawsalau / Freetown (settled by runaway Wayra slaves).

There are two neighboring nations that I also worked a bit on. They don't feature much into the story, but they seemed empty. To the west of Fathelan is Ferish, with its cities of Hathorn, Witaul, and Afan (which is also derived from "ahwa"). To the east of Hithelan, is Corrigar, an island nation. While not settled by the original 'gothic' speakers in the region, it was colonized by a mix of people from Hithelan and the nation across the river from Havishport. Its primary cities are Erlwic, Storn, and Avangar.

Seems like a bunch of extraneous details, but I tend to take the view that there are no extraneous details when it comes to World Building. Every detail is fodder for a story somewhere down the line. Its an investment, really. One less thing I'll need to think about when I decide that the narrator sets sail for the Empire from White Gap, or takes a train through Stag.

Out of curiosity, what sort of town does the name Knothaven conjure? Its not an important city at the moment, though when I get around to rewriting one old story I might move it to this city. Anyhow, I derived it from the gothic words Knoth and Ahwa (switched around to hav- as I mentioned), but I couldn't pass up on the english double meanings.

WB