Wednesday, January 8, 2014

World Building: The Feel of a Name


What do these city names have in common?

Nagoya
Koshigaya
Sapporo
Okayama 

You may not know they're in Japan, but by the sound of them and the fact that they're cities, you know they're in East Asia.

What about?
Nairobi
Mombasa
Kisumu

Kitale

Again, you don't have to know what country they're a part of. By the sound of them, you know they're cities in an African country. 

When it comes to world building, you can throw different sounding words into one country simply because you like them. It's your story, you can do whatever you want. When it comes to building more than one country, I suggest you go for a little reality.

The names of countries and cities within one continent should sound like they belong together. 

In our world, language plays a huge, huge role in the names of different cities and countries. For instance, the way Americans say a city name may not be the way the residents say it. Let's take Rome. That's what we call it. When you go to Rome, you will not find any sign, anything that says Rome. In Italy, Rome is Roma. The same for Florence. It's Firenze in Italy.

I love world building, but I'm not going so far as to create my own languages. That's hardcore. 

For me, I have my list of names. Then, I consult Random Name Generator and start putting countries and cities together.

So far, this is what I have. It's still a work-in-progress.

Sorin
Wolf Trap
Hopewell
Broken Land
Gault
Gunnan

Tsya
Nada
Mikana
Aruna
Ena
Anapa

Cayden
Pallos
Vishnu Donar
Mashesha
Challum

One way I did this was to think about the personality of the continent and make sure all the cities matches the feel of said personality. For instance, Sorin is a sort of rough and gruff continent. It's a type of land where everyone is built like a house, yet regal, proud and remarkably intelligent. When examining words to become country names, I wanted to feel that those words embodied one or all of those traits I listed above. Your instincts are important in the naming process.

For how to create names, check out my post Naming Your Fantasy World