On names and places

Many things – names, place names and activities are being taken from older languages like Old English. I do this myself, using the language that Beowulf was written in. I have a file on my computer that is an Old English to Modern English dictionary.

This provides me with a good solid basis for names and the like – but I do feel that something is missing.

I was reading an interview with David Eddings the other night, and was intrigued by some of his comments on mythology, the romantics and the Indo-European seem to be his source of name and the like.

This is obviously going back even further than I am, but it did for some strange reason get me thinking and from somewhere Gaelic popped into my mind.

This is certainly something than I can look into. Maybe even obtain some sort of dictionary in the same fashion of my old English one. I will defiantly look into that in the future.

One of the things that I find difficult is naming things, be it things, places or people. Many authors use an atlas, baby name books, phone books and the like. That is fine for contemporary fiction, but not much use for fantasy and sci-fi can have different naming conventions and Smith and Jones don’t always cut it. If setting in Earth future – then yes it can work, and place names will get used for new stations and planets. Exactly like when the British, French, Spanish and the Dutch first settled on the North American continent. The place names were taken with them from their homelands.

Making a single place name work is easy, but when you start putting groups of them together things can become a lot harder – making sure they all work together, but not making them all the same. It’s an easy thing to do, you name the people and the planet the same thing, the country and the capital city the same and so on, but I find that lacks imagination, I’ll use us – the human race – as an example. We live on Earth, yet our species is Human, I live in the UK, where the capital is London. I do tire a little when I read a book and the capital city is the same name as the country its in – how do you know if the author means the city or the country when they say the protagonist is heading there?

I will take this one step further – and this is more of an observation of Sci-Fi more than fantasy – Why do alien races all seem to be at piece as a species, not warring amongst themselves, their plant one big happy place with a single ruling political leader. Give me multiple factions of an alien race meeting multiple factions of another and watch the fireworks. I’ll be right back – had an idea!

So – if anyone has a suggestion for a Gaelic/Celtic – English dictionary – please let me know 🙂

And any suggestions of new books to read are always welcome.

Also name books for Russia, China, Japan, Norway, well you get the idea – anywhere that’s not using the same set of names as the UK!

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