Reader Question: How do you pronounce the names in Stranger Skies?

StrangerSkiesebookcoverPressWelcome to a new segment on my blog! What happens here is I get totally stumped for a blog post and ask my readers if they have any questions they want answered. Then I choose a question from the ones submitted and answer it on the blog.

Seriously though, this might become a regular thing, instead of just coming up this week because I had no idea what to write about. So stay tuned for more opportunities to send in your questions!

Today, we have a question from Robin! Robin asks,

How do you pronounce (most of) the character names in Stranger Skies?

Oh boy, you have to ask the tough ones, don’t you? 😉

My main philosophy with name pronunciation for my characters is for you to pronounce them however you want, because likely your brain is going to come up with whatever is easiest for you to remember and thus keep you immersed in the story. Also I have trouble remembering whatever I decided was official pronunciation anyway, so I never really release a list because…I will probably mispronounce names at a reading or something.

(If you’ve watched any of my vlogs, you know I mispronounce almost everything already.)

But I am going to try to answer this, at least for most of the names. Just please don’t hold this up as the Word of God or anything; I accept all pronunciations as equal paths to character understanding.

Oh, also? I have no idea how to do the official phonetic alphabet or anything, so my pronunciation writing is going to be the best approximation I can do.

Maybe at some point in the future I can do a vlog or an audio release of my pronouncing all these names…slowly, so I get them right.

Silva: this one is actually easy, because I’ve been saying this name all my life — Silva was known to me from a young age as the goddess of wolves and wolf-dogs. I pronounce it SILL-vah. (sill as in windowsill.)

Thalaea: I pronounce it tha-LAY-ah. (tha has a sound that’s sort of closer to the, but not quite there, and sort of like thaw, but without the aaaawww.)

Ruk: ROOK. (Like the chess piece!)

Scoas: SKO-ess

Natai: nah-TIE

Alaev: a-LAYV

Brinna: BRIH-nah

Enendoa: en-en-DOUGH-ah

D’ssah: The apostrophe in Gssn’lthari words indicates a glottal stop. D’ssah’s name is pronounced di-s-SAW, with an elongated awwww sound and a hiss on the double-s.

J’th: I don’t know if I can write out the pronunciation of this word…it’s the sound a J makes, followed by a glottal stop, and then the sound of the letters TH at the beginning of a word. It’s like saying “the” without the e, and as if you’re hissing with a lisp. Sort of like ju-TH.

Etan: ee-TAUN.

Laeanai: LAY-ah-nigh (as in the end is nigh). This name is linguistically related to Thalaea.

 Ill’ll: eel-lil

Kaetaxra: kay-TAX-rah.

I hope that helps answer the question, Robin, and I hope it’s elucidating to anyone else who was wondering how to pronounce some of Stranger Skies‘, er, stranger names.

See you all next week with…something. Not sure what.

-Katje