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TWG Posts ()
#3 Copy

Peter Ahlstrom

These pronunciations are pretty hard to say and don't make much sense internally! How do you pronounce "en" at the end of "Raoden" and "is" it the end of Elantris and "Sa-" at the beginning of "Sarene"? Is it Ray-oh-deen and Ee-lain-trice and Say-ray-nay? Or is it "-en" (as in "end" with no "d") and "-triss" (rhymes with "kiss") and "Suh-" (front rhymes with "Samantha")? Or Because if it's "-en" and "-triss" and "Suh-" then these pronunciations are not allowed by your AEIO rules, and if it's "-deen" and "-trice" and "Say-" then your listed pronunciations are not helpful.

Spelling some "a" sound with "e" instead also throws a wrench into the whole thing. Basically, the fact that you felt the need to do that should have been an indication to you that there were issues with the system to start out with, and that regular English speakers and especially Fantasy readers would just not automatically pronounce your names close to the way you meant them to be pronounced.

I will hopefully comment later, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to base a language around the just 4 long vowels A E I O (which are pronounced, phonetically, "ei ii ai ou"). It looks like there are some problems in implementation though.

Eagle Prince

I thought that only applied to the Aons. The different names and words, ie Raoden, is only part Aon... the other half is like a totally different language. Sort of like a pidgen language combines two different languages into is own sort of language, and can eventually turn into a whole new language (creole). I think that is what happened here....

I would need to reread the article, but I think it also mentioned something about only the first so many vowels being long and the rest normal. That or just the vowels that dealt with the Aon part of the word.

I also think the 'ae' thing is pretty common in fantasy.

Brandon Sanderson

Ookla,

You're missing the long/short combination. (EP has it exactly right.)

The Aon has long vowels, the rest of the word has short. Maybe I need to make that more explicit. However, reading it, it makes sense to me.

So, RAY-Oh-den would be pronounced, I think, exactly as I wrote it there. Two long--for the Aon--one short, for the non-Aon.

As for the 'A' exception, it was done out of necessity. You see, the truth is that I was creating a language to accent my novel, not the other way around. So, when it came down to writing a name like 'Sarene,' I just couldn't force myself to write it the way that looked worse, just to make the language feel a little more consistent. (There was no physical way to make the name on the page sound like the one in my head without writing something very silly, like Saraynay or Saraenae.)

I think that people in the world would pronounce her name, therefore, as "Sa-REE-Nee," as I pointed out in the article. However, I'm still going to pronounce it how I want, because I'm an English speaker, not an Aonic speaker. Just like I call Korea 'Korea,' instead of 'Kor-ryo' (or even Hanguk) as would be correct.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Are there differences in pronunciation between the different worlds in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Do you have any record of that?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it depends on the culture and things like that, what it's going to be like. You can kind of bet in Mistborn it's going to be French, if it's from the Central Dominance. So they'll say "Kelsi-ay" and "De-MOH" but where Elend's from is a lot more Germanic so "EE-lend" "STRAHFF" and stuff like that. The other worlds are all going to have their different things. In Roshar you are going to get some of the "YAS-nah kHo-LIN" it's going to be a little more Semitic in its language family.

Brandon's Blog 2004 ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Aonic: Pronounce Aonic names by finding the Aon (most of them are listed in the back of the book. Otherwise, find the two nearest vowels.) Then, pronounce the Aon’s vowels in ‘long’ form (I know—my linguist friend told me that’s not exactly correct. See below for examples, however) and any other vowels in short form. The first syllable with the Aon in it always gets the stress.

Examples: Aon = AY-Ohn Raoden = RAY-Oh-den

List of Aon vowels: A = a as in ‘bake’ E = e as in ‘eat’ or a as in ‘bake.’ (See below.) I = i as in ‘bike’ (A double i Aon pronounces both long i sounds. See below.) O = o as in ‘boat’ U = There are no ‘u’ sounds in Aons.

Every other vowel should be pronounced in short form without a stress.

A note on ‘E’ sounds in Aonic. The only exception to the rule includes words written with ‘e’ in the Aon. In English, ‘e’ can often produce a long ‘a’ sound. So, I wrote many long ‘a’ sounds with ‘e’s. This was a device I used to try and make the names look better and have a chance of being pronounced more accurately. Note the examples in names below.

Common Aonic Names Raoden = RAY-Oh-den Sarene = sa-RAY-Nay (or sa-REE-Nee, if you want to get technical.) Elantris = EE-Layn-tris (Though most people say el-lan-tris, which is fine.) Kiin = KYE-Eye-n Teod = TAY-Ohd Arelon = ah-RAY-Lone Daorn =DAY-Ohrn Kaise =KAY-Ice Ahan = AY-Hayn Roial = ROH-Eye-al

Other Names: Hrathen = Ray-then (with a very subtle ‘h’ sound at the beginning.) Fjorden = Fee-ohr-den Galladon = Gall-ah-dawn Dilaf = Dee-lawf

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

I enjoy the audiobooks. Michael Kramer is awesome.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he's great.

Questioner

Ramon De Ocampo is awesome. So I have two questions. One, when you give the books to the readers.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

Questioner

Do you also, like, record for them the actual names so they know to speak... *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, so naming-- names in the audiobooks. So I get-- I send them a recorded-- recording of all the names. It doesn't always get to them in time. Because the production-- You can imagine, like, I'm not turning the final book in to Tor for probably another month. And then they have to get that thing recorded, and produced, and out by the-- simultaneous with the book that we are recording. So, sometimes they get them wrong. But I don't really mind too much, because I figure-- this is kind of my philosophy-- there are no really right ways to say the names. The right way is how you say it in your version of the book when you are reading it. You're the director; I provide the script. I could tell you how I pronounce the names, but I pronounce names wrong. Like, I say "KEL-see-er", right? And in world they'd say something more like "Kel-see-AY". And stuff like this. Like I say "KAL-uh-din"; they would probably say "kuh-LA-din" in Alethi. And so, I mean, I'm American. We-- I say things like Americans.

Boskone 54 ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

I’m a big fan of Jasnah. And I hope you’ll do her justice in the next book. Do you say it “Jasnah” or “Jasnah”? [different pronunciations]

Brandon Sanderson

I say “Jasnah” [soft-J], but you can say it however you want. Remember she’s got a--- she will get a book in the series that has her flashback sequence--

Questioner

Good!

Brandon Sanderson

--but it’s a little ways off.

Questioner

Does she get a [???]?

Brandon Sanderson

She will-- She… You will see a lot more of her, but she is intended to be one of the main characters of the second five Stormlight books. In the first five Stormlight books she’s a supporting character. So we’ll reverse some of the supporting characters and some of the main characters in book 6. Um… So you just gotta to wait until we get some more. But she is on the cover of book 3, so...

Miscellaneous 2015 ()
#15 Copy

Argent

One thing I can't figure out - Newcago's name is obviously a short of New Chicago. So is there anything Babylar stands for? The "Babyl-" part is obviously from Babylon, but I can't think of anything for "-ar"... Babylon Restored > Babylo-R > Babylor > Babylar kind of makes sense, but it doesn't make me happy.

Peter Ahlstrom

Babyl-R (say the letter name).

Orem signing ()
#17 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do you pronounce Szeth's name?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Zeth. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Just the Z?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. There's a little bit of s...

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

And Sazed?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, he says something more close to Saze-d. But Kelsier says Say-zed. And people just kind of go with what Kelsier does. I say Say-zed also.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#19 Copy

Moosehead11

How do you pronounce Sazed in your mind? Is it Saysd, Say-Zid, or Say-Zed?

Brandon Sanderson

I say Say-zed, as does Kelsier. But he has a different accent from Sazed himself, who might say it differently among his people.

Moosehead11

I'm actually surprised it wasn't Saysd. Now it's going to take me a little longer to get through book 3 with that extra syllable in my head!

Brandon Sanderson

If it helps, I feel that's pretty close to the way the Terris would say his name.

Firefight release party ()
#20 Copy

Jasonioan

Have you ever written a character name that you have no idea how to pronounce? *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

Have I ever written a character name that I have no idea how to pronounce. Oh boy, I got to have, right? Like Rock's real name uh, Numuhukumakiakia'aialunamor, maybe? But most of the Hornearter things I just can't, I'm like what? But even some other ones… The thing is that sometimes I don't pronounce them the right way. Like I say "Kel-see-er" in-world they say "Kel-see-ay" because it is French, the original core I was using so you get things like Vin Demoux and things like this which are French terms or French names or French words, and Kelsier, I say his name "Kel-see-er" but I'm an American. 'Murica.  I say it like an American would but you are free to pronounce the names in the book however you want to.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Our entire family reads your books, and we have differences in how we pronounce things, so I was wondering if you could read this list of words for me? 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Alright, let's warn you that I do not pronounce the names correctly. Upfront, I will just warn you that I pronounce you like an American, not like a local. So Jasnah, Kelsier, Sazed, Sadees, Camon, OreSeur, Koloss, Kelsier, for instance would be Kelsier in world, but that's not how I say it, cause I'm American.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

What was your favorite Mistborn character to write? Personally I hated Elend and Vin but loved Zane.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh wow, hated Elend and Vin and loved Zane… *stumbles over words* I'm going to stay away from you. *laughter* I'm just joking. Who's my favorite? *sighs* Picking a favorite character is almost impossible, it's who you're writing at the moment but I kind of have a weird personal connection in a weird way with Sazed so I'll say him. And it's okay if you say "Sah-zed" I say "Say-zed" but I don't say everything right, I say "Kelsi-er" too and his name is "Kelsi-ay".

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#24 Copy

Questioner

Have you ever considered doing a pronunciation guide for your characters?

Brandon Sanderson

I should do that, shouldn’t I?

Questioner

It would help so much...

Brandon Sanderson

The thing about that is I’m kind of of the philosophy that however you do it in your head is the right version in your version of the story.  Because the characters won’t look the same to everyone.  Everyone imagines them differently, might as well say the names differently...

Orem signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Sah-zed, that's how you pronounce it, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, it depends on who you are. You can say it however you want. It's said all different ways in the books. Because he is Terris, and everybody's just kind of saying his name, right?

So Kelsier says Say-zed. But in world, he would say something more like Sahz-d, not Say-zed, himself. But I say Say-zed. You can say Sah-zed.  Some people would say that.