You open a book and come across an unusual place or character name. Maybe it’s got some strange consonants packed in. Maybe it even has an apostrophe or two. You’ve got no idea how to pronounce it… but if you’re used to reading fantasy this probably hasn’t fazed you. Exotic invented names are commonplace in this realm.
Some fantasy names might stand out in your memory: perhaps famous ones like Isengard and Mordor, Azkaban and Quidditch, Targaryen and Dothraki. Others might not. Regardless, the majority of them are not as made-up as they seem. Continue reading →
Last week I listed some English archaic forms often seen in epic fantasy novels: things like “here be dragons” and “unsavoury louts they were” and “prithee”. This week I’m continuing with a few more ‘ye olde’ words fantasy authors like to throw into the mix, as well as having a look at why they do it.
So without further ado, and again with the help of Susan Mandala’s Language in Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Question of Style, here are the remaining 6: Continue reading →
The other day I found myself explaining the word ‘wont’ to someone. Not the contraction ‘won’t’, but rather its apostrophe-less unrelated twin:
adjective: accustomed, used, given, inclined. e.g. “As he was wont to do”
— New Oxford American Dictionary
In other words, the one almost no-one uses. I believe I was attempting to add a vaguely historical flourish to a comment I was making. Unfortunately the person I was speaking to was German, and wont turned out to be a word they hadn’t yet added to their English vocabulary (can’t blame them really).
Continue reading →