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Naming Names WAS Re: [mythsoc] Fwd: (Whiteoak) Earthsea Trilogy

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  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
    Diamond s remark on a recent thread:
    Message 1 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
      Diamond's remark on a recent thread:

      <<L Sprague de Camp (I think it was he) propounded some rules for
      fantasy/sf
      writing, one of which was that the names should be distinctive. He said
      that he
      could never, for instance, keep from mixing up CS Lewis' villain Weston and
      his hero Ransom. >>

      But can't this be a subjective call? I mean, Ransom, that is a meaningful
      word. Weston is just an Englishy name. If one is to have characters with
      a common language base, or several of them, there will be similarities.

      And, while it has so far kept me from reading The Brothers Karamazov, name
      confusion has not stopped many another reader there.

      Lizzie Apgar Triano
      lizziewriter@...
      amor vincit omnia
    • Patrick H. Wynne
      On Apr 14, 2004, at 12:15 PM, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote, regarding Diamond s comments that L Sprague de Camp ... propounded some rules for fantasy/sf
      Message 2 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
        On Apr 14, 2004, at 12:15 PM, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote,
        regarding Diamond's comments that "L Sprague de Camp ...
        propounded some rules for fantasy/sf writing, one of which
        was that the names should be distinctive. He said that he
        could never, for instance, keep from mixing up CS Lewis'
        villain Weston and his hero Ransom."

        > But can't this be a subjective call? I mean, Ransom, that is
        > a meaningful word. Weston is just an Englishy name. If one
        > is to have characters with a common language base, or several
        > of them, there will be similarities.

        Indeed. Look no further than Tolkien's nomenclature, with
        Finwe, Fingolfin, Finarfin, Fingon, Amrod, Amras, Amroth,
        Angrod, Anband, Angbor, Anghabar, etc. etc. etc. If you're
        interested in what you're reading and paying attention, you'll
        manage to remember who's who (or what) -- I suspect de Camp's
        problem with Ransom/Weston was more due to careless,
        uninterested reading than any flaw in Lewis's nomenclature.

        And you've really gotta wonder how L. Sprague de Camp, even
        reading carelessly, could habitually have a problem distinguishing
        the names "Ransom" and "Weston"! Beyond the fact that they
        both have two syllables, the same number of letters, and O as
        the next-to-last letter, they're pretty darned distinct. By these
        same criteria, de Camp would probably have found the names
        "Patrick" and "Maurice" virtually indistinguishable.

        -- Maurice H. Wynne
      • dianejoy@earthlink.net
        I find if the character names are difficult to pronounce, I have trouble remembering them. There was a Fionna Patton character from *The Stone Prince* (whose
        Message 3 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
          I find if the character names are difficult to pronounce, I have trouble
          remembering them. There was a Fionna Patton character from *The Stone
          Prince* (whose name went down the memory hole) because to me, the letters N
          and M occurred right together, and it was natural for me to pronounce them
          in the opposite order. I have no trouble with Tolkien, even though the
          Dwarven names were very similar. I even liked Russian names. But the name
          I think I'll never forget (and wish I could) was Terry Brooks' Wizard from
          *Sword of Shanara.* Alanon. ---djb

          Original Message:
          -----------------
          From: Patrick H. Wynne pwynne@...
          Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 17:48:57 -0000
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Naming Names WAS Re: [mythsoc] Fwd: (Whiteoak) Earthsea Trilogy


          On Apr 14, 2004, at 12:15 PM, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote,
          regarding Diamond's comments that "L Sprague de Camp ...
          propounded some rules for fantasy/sf writing, one of which
          was that the names should be distinctive. He said that he
          could never, for instance, keep from mixing up CS Lewis'
          villain Weston and his hero Ransom."

          > But can't this be a subjective call? I mean, Ransom, that is
          > a meaningful word. Weston is just an Englishy name. If one
          > is to have characters with a common language base, or several
          > of them, there will be similarities.

          Indeed. Look no further than Tolkien's nomenclature, with
          Finwe, Fingolfin, Finarfin, Fingon, Amrod, Amras, Amroth,
          Angrod, Anband, Angbor, Anghabar, etc. etc. etc. If you're
          interested in what you're reading and paying attention, you'll
          manage to remember who's who (or what) -- I suspect de Camp's
          problem with Ransom/Weston was more due to careless,
          uninterested reading than any flaw in Lewis's nomenclature.

          And you've really gotta wonder how L. Sprague de Camp, even
          reading carelessly, could habitually have a problem distinguishing
          the names "Ransom" and "Weston"! Beyond the fact that they
          both have two syllables, the same number of letters, and O as
          the next-to-last letter, they're pretty darned distinct. By these
          same criteria, de Camp would probably have found the names
          "Patrick" and "Maurice" virtually indistinguishable.

          -- Maurice H. Wynne




          The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          Yahoo! Groups Links






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        • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
          I find if the character names are difficult to pronounce, I have trouble remembering them. There was a Fionna Patton character from *The Stone Prince* (whose
          Message 4 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
            I find if the character names are difficult to pronounce, I have trouble
            remembering them. There was a Fionna Patton character from *The Stone
            Prince* (whose name went down the memory hole) because to me, the letters N
            and M occurred right together, and it was natural for me to pronounce them
            in the opposite order. I have no trouble with Tolkien, even though the
            Dwarven names were very similar. I even liked Russian names. But the name
            I think I'll never forget (and wish I could) was Terry Brooks' Wizard from
            *Sword of Shanara.* Alanon. ---djb >>

            Yes, lol.

            But what of Mnementh? And Mnemosyne? Don't N and M go together
            deliciously in those words? Although I suppose I personally pronounce them
            both with a silent M at the first letter. It does, however, lend a sort of
            gravity to the word. Likewise, there is a silent "E" in the beginning of
            Eliz, because I am not real fond of the inescapable Liz.

            Otherwise I agree. Just as I have trouble learning a new word if I cannot
            envision how it is spelled, if I cannot at least imagine the sound of a
            word it sort of becomes a blur with only its beginning to distinguish it.

            Then there is also that cute little paragraph that is going around the
            'net, about how it is only important which letters are first and which last
            in a word, and the middle matters not.

            And on the other other hand....

            Lizzie Apgar Triano
            lizziewriter@...
            amor vincit omnia
          • Carl F. Hostetter
            For me, the most memorable name in Tolkien a la Brooks Alanon is Tirion on Túna . Entirely suitable in terms of the invented elements Tolkien used to
            Message 5 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
              For me, the most "memorable" name in Tolkien a la Brooks' "Alanon" is
              "Tirion on Túna". Entirely suitable in terms of the invented elements
              Tolkien used to compose his names, but I can never squelch the little
              rejoinder in my head saying "Ham on Rye".

              And do I even have to comment on the Quenya for of Celeborn's name:
              "Teleporno"? Didn't think so.

              Carl
            • Carl F. Hostetter
              ... Wiil tiit ciit be tiie
              Message 6 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                On Apr 14, 2004, at 2:47 PM, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:

                > Then there is also that cute little paragraph that is going around the
                > 'net, about how it is only important which letters are first and which
                > last
                > in a word, and the middle matters not.

                Wiil tiit ciit be tiie
              • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                Then there is also that cute little paragraph that is going around the net, about how it is only important which letters are first and which last in a word,
                Message 7 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                  Then there is also that cute little paragraph that is going around the
                  'net, about how it is only important which letters are first and which
                  last in a word, and the middle matters not.

                  Wiil tiit ciit be tiie >>

                  Does anyone have a copy? It is remarkably readable. You do have to use
                  all the Correct Letters, Mr. Hostetter, dear, or the effect is quite lost.
                  Sorry for that little miscommunication on my part.



                  Lizzie Apgar Triano
                  lizziewriter@...
                  amor vincit omnia
                • Walkermonk@aol.com
                  I am one of those bad readers who tend to *skip over* names I can t pronounce (which, depending on the story, can be quite a few names!). You can imagine the
                  Message 8 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                    I am one of those bad readers who tend to *skip over* names I can't pronounce
                    (which, depending on the story, can be quite a few names!). You can imagine
                    the mental havoc this causes later when something important happens in the
                    story and I cannot figure out who did what. :-)

                    Grace Monk


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Margaret Dean
                    ... I liked that book, actually ... which may just date me somehow! --Margaret Dean
                    Message 9 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                      Jack wrote:
                      >
                      > >This can be funny as long as one remembers one is being funny. ("Tim,
                      > >Tim, Benzedrine!") It's the critics who ACTUALLY THINK that "Nazgûl"
                      > >is short for "Nazi-ghoul" that you have to watch out for.
                      >
                      > Have you run across George R. R. Martin's The Armageddon Rag? Guess what
                      > the name of the band is...

                      I liked that book, actually ... which may just date me somehow!


                      --Margaret Dean
                      <margdean@...>
                    • David Bratman
                      ... When _The Silmarillion_ was first published, a friend and I read the whole thing aloud for the benefit (and the tape recorders) of blind friends. It was
                      Message 10 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                        At 02:52 PM 4/14/2004 -0400, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
                        >For me, the most "memorable" name in Tolkien a la Brooks' "Alanon" is
                        >"Tirion on Túna". Entirely suitable in terms of the invented elements
                        >Tolkien used to compose his names, but I can never squelch the little
                        >rejoinder in my head saying "Ham on Rye".

                        When _The Silmarillion_ was first published, a friend and I read the whole
                        thing aloud for the benefit (and the tape recorders) of blind friends. It
                        was long, hungry work, and "The Green Hill of Túna" only made it hungrier.
                        So, for the next MythSoc meeting, I made and brought a fish loaf with
                        parsley on top.

                        >And do I even have to comment on the Quenya for of Celeborn's name:
                        >"Teleporno"? Didn't think so.

                        This can be funny as long as one remembers one is being funny. ("Tim, Tim,
                        Benzedrine!") It's the critics who ACTUALLY THINK that "Nazgûl" is short
                        for "Nazi-ghoul" that you have to watch out for.


                        At 02:47 PM 4/14/2004 -0400, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:
                        >But what of Mnementh? And Mnemosyne? Don't N and M go together
                        >deliciously in those words? Although I suppose I personally pronounce them
                        >both with a silent M at the first letter.

                        I don't know Mnementh, but the M in Mnemosyne is supposed to be silent, yes.

                        - David B.
                      • Jack
                        ... Have you run across George R. R. Martin s The Armageddon Rag? Guess what the name of the band is...
                        Message 11 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                          >This can be funny as long as one remembers one is being funny. ("Tim, Tim,
                          >Benzedrine!") It's the critics who ACTUALLY THINK that "Nazgûl" is short
                          >for "Nazi-ghoul" that you have to watch out for.

                          Have you run across George R. R. Martin's The Armageddon Rag? Guess what the name of the band is...
                        • Jack
                          ... And what was the nickname of the lead singer for the Nazgul?
                          Message 12 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                            >> Have you run across George R. R. Martin's The Armageddon Rag? Guess what
                            >> the name of the band is...
                            >
                            >I liked that book, actually ... which may just date me somehow!

                            And what was the nickname of the lead singer for the Nazgul?
                          • David Bratman
                            ... Run across? I ve read it several times, and it makes a cameo appearance in my Mythcon paper this year. If you want a post-Tolkien hack fantasy author
                            Message 13 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                              At 05:34 PM 4/14/2004 -0400, Jack wrote:
                              >>This can be funny as long as one remembers one is being funny. ("Tim, Tim,
                              >>Benzedrine!") It's the critics who ACTUALLY THINK that "Nazgûl" is short
                              >>for "Nazi-ghoul" that you have to watch out for.
                              >
                              >Have you run across George R. R. Martin's The Armageddon Rag? Guess what the
                              >name of the band is...

                              Run across? I've read it several times, and it makes a cameo appearance in
                              my Mythcon paper this year. If you want a post-Tolkien hack fantasy author
                              who's actually GOOD at hack fantasy, Martin is your man. Much better than
                              Donaldson or Jordan or any of those cretins.

                              But nobody in this book claims that it's short for "Nazi-ghoul". They're
                              just heavy-metal rockers who like the Nazgûl because they think they're
                              bad-ass. They could call themselves the Uruk-hai with equal appropriateness.

                              - David B.
                            • Margaret Dean
                              ... Hobbit, of course, because his real last name was Hobbes. --Margaret Dean
                              Message 14 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                                Jack wrote:
                                >
                                > >> Have you run across George R. R. Martin's The Armageddon Rag? Guess what
                                > >> the name of the band is...
                                > >
                                > >I liked that book, actually ... which may just date me somehow!
                                >
                                > And what was the nickname of the lead singer for the Nazgul?

                                "Hobbit," of course, because his real last name was "Hobbes."


                                --Margaret Dean
                                <margdean@...>
                              • Margaret Dean
                                ... Right. It s been a while since I read the book, obviously. --Margaret Dean
                                Message 15 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                                  David Bratman wrote:
                                  >
                                  > At 06:54 PM 4/14/2004 -0400, Margaret Dean wrote:
                                  > >Jack wrote:
                                  > >> And what was the nickname of the lead singer for the Nazgul?
                                  > >
                                  > >"Hobbit," of course, because his real last name was "Hobbes."
                                  >
                                  > Hobbins, actually. (Seemed strained to me.) Hobbes was Calvin's
                                  > tiger (named for a philosopher, not a rock star, incidentally.)

                                  Right. It's been a while since I read the book, obviously.


                                  --Margaret Dean
                                  <margdean@...>
                                • David Bratman
                                  ... Hobbins, actually. (Seemed strained to me.) Hobbes was Calvin s tiger (named for a philosopher, not a rock star, incidentally.) - DB
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Apr 14, 2004
                                    At 06:54 PM 4/14/2004 -0400, Margaret Dean wrote:
                                    >Jack wrote:
                                    >> And what was the nickname of the lead singer for the Nazgul?
                                    >
                                    >"Hobbit," of course, because his real last name was "Hobbes."

                                    Hobbins, actually. (Seemed strained to me.) Hobbes was Calvin's tiger
                                    (named for a philosopher, not a rock star, incidentally.)

                                    - DB
                                  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                                    I don t know Mnementh, but the M in Mnemosyne is supposed to be silent, yes. - David B. Thanks. Mnementh, if I m spelling it right, is a lovely male dragon
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                      I don't know Mnementh, but the M in Mnemosyne is supposed to be silent, yes.

                                      - David B. >>


                                      Thanks. Mnementh, if I'm spelling it right, is a lovely male dragon in
                                      McCaffrey's Pern romances.


                                      Lizzie Apgar Triano
                                      lizziewriter@...
                                      amor vincit omnia
                                    • alexeik@aol.com
                                      In a message dated 4/14/4 9:35:23 PM, David Bratman wrote:
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                        In a message dated 4/14/4 9:35:23 PM, David Bratman wrote:

                                        <<I don't know Mnementh, but the M in Mnemosyne is supposed to be silent, yes.

                                        >>

                                        Unless, of course, you're saying it in Greek. ;-)
                                        Alexei
                                      • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                                        Unless, of course, you re saying it in Greek. ;-) Alexei Alexei, cariad, where have you been? OK, how would one say it in Greek then? Lizzie Apgar Triano
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                          Unless, of course, you're saying it in Greek. ;-)
                                          Alexei >>

                                          Alexei, cariad, where have you been?

                                          OK, how would one say it in Greek then?

                                          Lizzie Apgar Triano
                                          lizziewriter@...
                                          amor vincit omnia
                                        • alexeik@aol.com
                                          In a message dated 4/15/4 6:23:04 PM, Lizzie wrote: Mneh-mo-sü-ney , roughly [the y would be like the French
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                            In a message dated 4/15/4 6:23:04 PM, Lizzie wrote:

                                            <<OK, how would one say it in Greek then?>>

                                            "Mneh-mo-sü-ney", roughly [the 'y' would be like the French 'u' or German
                                            'ü').
                                            Alexei
                                          • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                                            Mneh-mo-s?-ney , roughly [the y would be like the French u or German ? ). I am getting a character that looks like a wee lowercase B in there. Is
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                              "Mneh-mo-s?-ney", roughly [the 'y' would be like the French 'u' or German
                                              '?'). >>

                                              I am getting a character that looks like a wee lowercase "B" in there. Is
                                              that what it is supposed to be? I guess the Mneh part I can practice, but
                                              maybe I should ask some Greek friends about the rest. I think I lose some
                                              of the special characters that people send here.

                                              I'll keep at it. Diolch.

                                              Lizzie Apgar Triano
                                              lizziewriter@...
                                              amor vincit omnia
                                            • Stolzi@aol.com
                                              In a message dated 4/14/2004 6:47:33 PM Central Daylight Time, ... Somebody, can t think who, did a =wonderful= and well-drawn parody, abt the length of a
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                                In a message dated 4/14/2004 6:47:33 PM Central Daylight Time,
                                                dbratman@... writes:

                                                >Hobbes was Calvin's tiger
                                                >(named for a philosopher, not a rock star, incidentally.)


                                                Somebody, can't think who, did a =wonderful= and well-drawn parody, abt the
                                                length of a Sunday comic, in which Calvin the theologian and Hobbes the
                                                philosopher chased each other through a suburban landscape, tossing insults cribbed
                                                from the works of each while Calvin waved a big hefty Bible. Wish I had saved
                                                a copy.

                                                I had a project to get public-domain images of the two men and manufacture
                                                "Calvin & Hobbes" t-shirts. (Bill Watterson never approved any product
                                                tie-ins). Never got it going but still think it woulda been cool.

                                                Diamond Proudbrook


                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • David Bratman
                                                ... There s a Firesign Theatre album cover which parodies the big Soviet displays of giant poster-portraits of Marx and Lenin, by depicting one of Groucho Marx
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                                  At 04:45 PM 4/15/2004 -0400, Stolzi wrote:

                                                  >I had a project to get public-domain images of the two men and manufacture
                                                  >"Calvin & Hobbes" t-shirts.

                                                  There's a Firesign Theatre album cover which parodies the big Soviet
                                                  displays of giant poster-portraits of Marx and Lenin, by depicting one of
                                                  Groucho Marx and John Lennon.

                                                  Another grouping I'd like to see on a t-shirt is the Notable Family Named
                                                  Stein:

                                                  There's a notable family named Stein.
                                                  There's Gert, and there's Ep, and there's Ein.
                                                  Gert's prose is all bunk,
                                                  Ep's sculpture just junk,
                                                  And nobody understands Ein.
                                                • dianejoy@earthlink.net
                                                  LOL! Nice to know even the master of Middle Earth has a slip of the pen on occasion! ---djb ... From: Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@elvish.org Date: Wed, 14 Apr
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Apr 15, 2004
                                                    LOL! Nice to know even the master of Middle Earth has a slip of the pen on
                                                    occasion! ---djb

                                                    Original Message:
                                                    -----------------
                                                    From: Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@...
                                                    Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 14:52:29 -0400
                                                    To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                                    Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Naming Names


                                                    For me, the most "memorable" name in Tolkien a la Brooks' "Alanon" is
                                                    "Tirion on Túna". Entirely suitable in terms of the invented elements
                                                    Tolkien used to compose his names, but I can never squelch the little
                                                    rejoinder in my head saying "Ham on Rye".

                                                    And do I even have to comment on the Quenya for of Celeborn's name:
                                                    "Teleporno"? Didn't think so.

                                                    Carl



                                                    The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                                                    Yahoo! Groups Links






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                                                  • Stolzi@aol.com
                                                    In a message dated 4/14/2004 1:14:53 PM Central Daylight Time, pwynne@gvtel.com writes: And you ve really gotta wonder how L. Sprague de Camp, even reading
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Apr 20, 2004
                                                      In a message dated 4/14/2004 1:14:53 PM Central Daylight Time,
                                                      pwynne@... writes:

                                                      "And you've really gotta wonder how L. Sprague de Camp, even
                                                      reading carelessly, could habitually have a problem distinguishing
                                                      the names "Ransom" and "Weston"! "

                                                      Well, anybody named "L. Sprague de Camp" I suppose starts out with a hefty
                                                      prejudice in favor of really distinctive and hard-to-forget names! But then, I
                                                      suppose, we could have told him that "we always get you mixed up with L. Ron
                                                      Hubbard" :)

                                                      Diamond Proudbrook


                                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                    • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                                                      Well, anybody named L. Sprague de Camp I suppose starts out with a hefty prejudice in favor of really distinctive and hard-to-forget names! But then, I
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Apr 20, 2004
                                                        Well, anybody named "L. Sprague de Camp" I suppose starts out with a hefty
                                                        prejudice in favor of really distinctive and hard-to-forget names! But
                                                        then, I
                                                        suppose, we could have told him that "we always get you mixed up with L.
                                                        Ron
                                                        Hubbard" :) >>


                                                        *suspicious coughing sounds* ;-D


                                                        Lizzie Apgar Triano
                                                        lizziewriter@...
                                                        amor vincit omnia
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