Today I’m going to be talking about those names in books that every single one of your friends pronounce differently. The sort of name you (if you’re like me) just try ignore until you have to say it out loud and suddenly realise you have no clue how to pronounce it. Some well known examples are Chaol and Celaena from the Throne of Glass series, as well as plenty of others I can’t remember right now.
So how do we combat these tricky names no one can pronounce?
The first option is to just try and ignore them, which is probably my usual approach, however it can turn out problematic if you ever end up talking to your bookish friends and all pronounce it differently. Or, even worse you end up speaking to the other and can’t pronounce your favourite character’s name.
The second choice is to do some research. Often fantasy authors feel their readers’ pain when it comes to difficult names and add a little pronunciation guide to their novels or you can find it online, on the author’s website or even listen to the audiobook. This makes you look super professional and knowledgeable.
The third option is to have a debate. Ask your family and friends. Bookish or non-bookish. How would they pronounce that name? This option means the pronunciation you choose is the most popular choice so you’ll at least be in the majority, even if you do end up being wrong.
The fourth and final option is to pronounce the name a different way each time you say until you find a pronunciation you like and then stick with that one. That way you’ll have tried all the possible pronunciations and ruled the ones you don’t like out. At least you’ll be happy this way and it doesn’t require much effort on your part.
So which option do you go with? How do you tackle names you just can’t pronounce? What examples of unpronounceable names have you come across?