A Name Pronunciation Guide for 100K

I’ve gotten a few questions lately from readers about how to pronounce the names in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. The truth is, I don’t care how you pronounce them; it’s fiction, it’s not like any real people will be offended. But I know some people like to be precise, so I’ll share how I’ve been pronouncing them:

  • Yeine: YAY-neh (Yes, two syllables. This seems to be the biggest point of confusion.)
  • Viraine: vih-RAYN
  • Nahadoth: NA-ha-doth
  • Sieh: see-ay (no particular emphasis on either syllable)
  • Kurue: KOO-roo-ay, rolled “r”
  • Zhakkarn: jah-KARN (I prefer using the Mandarin pronunciation of the “zh”, though I don’t always get it right myself. Just sounds prettier.)
  • Itempas: ee-tem-pahs (no particular emphasis)
  • Enefa: EH-neh-fah
  • Dekarta: deh-KAR-tah
  • Scimina: sih-MEE-nah
  • Relad: reh-LAHD
  • T’vril: Tuh-VRIL (yes, I know there should be like a glottal stop there, but it’s a PITA to pronounce, so I don’t)
  • Ras Onchi: RAHS ON-chee
  • Wohi Ubm: WO-hee OO-bum
  • Gemd: GEH-mid
  • Shahar: shah-HAR
  • Kinneth: kih-NETH
  • Arameri: ah-rah-MEH-ree

And no, none of the names mean anything, and I didn’t consult a linguist to make the languages internally consistent, and I’m aware that some of the patterns of pronunciation contradict each other. Some of this is because the book is set in a multicultural society; that list of characters represents at least 7 different cultures, including that of the gods themselves (remember, they have their own language), each with its own naming conventions, and the usual overlap between cultures with frequent close contact. Some of it, however, is because I just made them up.

12 thoughts on “A Name Pronunciation Guide for 100K”

  1. For me it makes a difference whether I read a book aloud or not. When I rent silent I mostly use my own pronunciation.

    I appreciate your pronunciation post. Even I’m not sure I will use it when I read your book.

  2. I knew I wasn’t pronouncing ‘Yeine’ right in my head. I probably should have realised how to pronounce it from the other names in the book though. Thanks for the post :D.

  3. Surprisingly I guessed correctly on all except Yeine’s!! Thanks for posting this. I read the sample chapters and am anxiously waiting for the UPS guy to deliver my Amazon order so I can finish the story this weekend! I like your writing style and the story…will def spread the word with my book club members.

  4. Somewhat chuffed to find I got most of the ones right that I’d sounded out mentally during my reading :) though I am still not sure how your Yeine reads from that description. Is the “ay” of your “yay” as in “yea”, or as in “eye”? I had been thinking it as “eye” because “ei” in German comes out that way, but you never know. :)

  5. Hi Izzy,

    It’s “AH-mun”. With a very brief “u” in the second syllable. Basically, it’s pronounced exactly how it looks, no diphthong. :)

    And belated to Trialia,

    It’s “yea”. :)

  6. I feel a bit silly being relieved to find this, but I kept distracting myself all through the book thinking, “Is it ‘Sigh-eh’? ‘See-eh’?” I know there’s no “right” pronunciation, but I like knowing what the author was thinking so I can get my mental voice in line.

    Back to my re-read!

  7. If you’ve got a moment, I’m curious about how you pronounce Dateh in Broken Kingdoms. My brain keeps turning into Data, Star Trek: TNG style.

  8. Hi allreb,

    Huh… guess I’ll have to do a pronunciation post for book 2. Forgot, whoops! But Dateh is DAH-tay.

  9. Pingback: A Pronunciation Guide for The Broken Kingdoms | Epiphany 2.0

  10. Looking forward to the Book 2 pronunciation guide. I must say that The Broken Kingdoms was as compelling a read as the first book and I am eagerly await the third.

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