Come again? Pronouncing names in the Ilmaen Quartet

Posted on July 31, 2015

There are two key issues that make names complicated in the Ilmaen Quartet: the variety of people who’ve moved into the heart of Western Europe, and the fact that centuries have passed. Just as we don’t speak or spell English in the same way as we used to, these folk will not be using the spelling or pronunciation of current day Finnish, Norwegian, Swahili, Yoruba, Arabic, or any other of the melting pot of languages spoken in Ilmaen.

The core of Ilmaenese is made up of three key languages: Arabic, Finnish and Swahili, with Finnish dominating (because the earliest ruling classes established a northern power base and pushed down into the south, before the south pushed back and evened things up a bit).

Some old names survive (Ianto), some are incidentally the same (Nina), while new ones emerge.

Names aren’t pronounced quite the same way in all parts of the country because of local dialects, so what you have here is how most folk in Ilmaen would pronounce a name, including any inflection. The names here are one that appear in Shadowless. If there’s something of interest behind the meaning or the root of a name I’ve added a bit more information in italics.

Alessi – A-LEH-si

Atune – A-tuw-ney

Bighur – BIG-hoor

Cedas – SAY-dass

Ceri – KE-ri

Dailo – DAI-low

Eddir – EDD-ir

Harratt – HA-rat

Ianto – I-AN-to

A welsh form of John

Jastur – SHA-stoor (in some dialects, IA-stoor)

As newcomer nobility (Jastur’s grandfather Olmegh became LandMaster of Karn in the early 5th Century AC), Olmegh was keen to fit in by adopting the naming tradition favoured by Ilmaen’s ruling class. There, childrens’ names often include elements of their parents’ or grandparents’ names, hence his name makes up parts of his sons’ names, Sarol and Maregh. His son Sarol opted not to follow that tradition: Jastur and Kerin will adopt it again, as we’ll see in the later books.

Jesral – Jez-RAAL (in some dialects, SHEZ-ral or IEZ-ral)

As you can imagine, she’s not happy when people mispronounce it.

Kerin – KE-rin

See the notes for Jastur

Lemno – LEM-no

Melor – Mel-OR

A very old Welsh saint’s name – ironic, given this undeniably saintly man is an atheist

Naylan – NAY-len

Nina – NI-na

Renia – Re-NI-a

Sarol – SAR-ol

Talenn – Tal-EN

Velohim – VEL-o-heem

Probably from veli, brother in Finnish, or possibly velho mestari, sorcerer’s champion, to indicate the link to his sister. It’s to be noted too that ‘mestari’, champion, can also mean master as in LandMaster. Most people assumed ‘master’ rather than ‘champion’ was meant, because not everyone (including the occasional LandMaster) has grasped the idea that they protect the land, they don’t own it.

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