Pronunciation of made-up words and names

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How often is your pronunciation of made-up words/names end up being wrong?

Never
0
No votes
Rarely
0
No votes
Sometimes
0
No votes
Often
1
50%
All the time
1
50%
 
Total votes: 2

Wonderer
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:47 am

Pronunciation of made-up words and names

Post by Wonderer »

This topic is mostly just me venting my frustration. If you're not interested, move along.

It's quite annoying when an author makes up some word or a name, but doesn't include any hints on how to pronounce it. The "Dragonriders of Pern" is notable in this regard, because it has a lot of made-up names in every book, and it later got a pronunciation guide, which is why I know now that the way peoples' names sounded in my head was totally wrong. For other, newer books this usually happens when the audiobook version comes out. Even worse, for some long-running series different audiobooks are narrated by different people, who use different pronunciation. I don't listen to audiobooks on a regular basis, so this doesn't tick me off as much, but I am aware of the phenomena.

It's somewhat less annoying when pronunciation is provided (though often in hard-to-find website sections and such - not even in the book itself!), but is given in English phonetic syllables. Newsflash, people: not everyone in the world is an anglophone. International Phonetic Alphabet exists for a reason. It should also be mentioned that English doesn't really have much in the way of hard pronunciation rules. And even if it did, meticulously analyzing the composition of a word in order to figure out how to pronounce it is not something I'd like to be doing while reading a freaking book.

If you're an author and you are reading this, run your text through a spellchecker. Then add any made-up words to a separate dictionary, instead of telling the spellchecker to skip them. Once you're done, go through that dictionary and spell out pronunciation for each and every entry. Then put it somewhere. Preferably in the book itself. A footnote at the first occurrence is best, but an index at the end of the book is OK too. A page on your website is OK if you mention its existence at the beginning of a book.

To that end, here's a poll. How often do you stumble on this?
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