Using Languages in Fiction – Place Names

When you read fantasy and science fiction, you often notice that there are place names that are not in your native language. They may be in another language or an entirely fictional language. But let’s take a look at how we can make place names by looking at other languages.

Case 1: Black River

I’ll look at a few different languages for this. I wonder what sounds good.

  • Japanese: Kurokawa
  • Portuguese: Rio Preto
  • Somali: Webiga Madow
  • Arabic: Alnnahr al’Aswad
  • Chinese: Hēihé
  • Greek: Mávro Potámi
  • Hindi: Kālī Nadī
  • Irish: Abhainn Dubh
  • Mongolian: Khar Golyn
  • Welsh: Afon Du

Case 2: Cedar Hills

  • Japanese: Suginooka
  • Portuguese: Colinas do Cedro
  • Somali: Buuraha Lahaa Kedar Ah
  • Arabic: Tlal al’Arz
  • Chinese: Xī dá xī ěr sī
  • Greek: Kédros Lófous
  • Hindi: Dēvadāra Pahāṛiyōṁ
  • Irish: Cnoic Cedar
  • Mongolian: Khush Tolgod
  • Welsh: Bryniau Cedrwydd

Case 3: Horse Valley

  • Japanese: Umanotani
  • Portuguese: Vale Cavalo
  • Somali: Dooxada Faras
  • Arabic: Wadi Alhisan
  • Chinese: Mǎ gǔ
  • Greek: Koiláda Alogo
  • Hindi: Ghōṛā Ghāṭī
  • Irish: Gleann Capall
  • Mongolian: Mori Khöndii
  • Welsh: Dyffryn Ceffyl

So, we get some pretty interesting names. I quite like the sound of some of the Irish, Mongolian, and Welsh names, as well as Arabic and Greek. What do you think? Which names sound the best to you?


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