The apostrophe in names - is it just me?

Discussion in 'SFF lounge' started by mosaix, Jul 16, 2006.

  1.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    Practically every SFF book you pick up now has name after name containing an apostrophe. Why?

    I find it very irritating and distracting.

    Authors - please stop doing it. Just think up a name that can be pronounced properly so it doesn't get in the way of enjoying the story.
  2.  
    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    I whole-heartedly agree. Apostrophe's in names are irritating and hard to think about.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't say to stop it, but certainly use it with caution, and make it actually fit the sort of language roots of the name. Some languages have things like glottal stops, and an apostrophe is a good way to indicate that. Most do not, and so such things should be used very sparingly.
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    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    Yes, especially if they are used repeatedly in a paragraph or twice in a sentance. That is the hardest of all.

    PS: Sometimes, though, if it is introduced and used properly, it is not a hinderance at all.
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    Rane Longfox

    Rane Longfox Red Rane

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    If used consistantly, with a correct linguistic explanation, it's fine. When you get stuff like the "Wi'tch" series, it's just plain annoying, aye.
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    jenna

    jenna smiling politely

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    i haven't actually read any books with those names, but perhaps it's because if i read them in the blurb i tend to put the book down and walk away... i imagine it would be very, very irritating.
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    Becca

    Becca New Member

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    I take all apostrophes in names to be glottal stops, some of them are easy to see how to pronounce them, others i don't have a clue, and some i just automatically make up my own way of saying them and then later realise that what i've been saying is nothing like the spelling, yes it's annoying.
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    Nesacat

    Nesacat The Cat

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    If the apostrophe is a part of the language and is explained so everyone can understand then I'm alright with it. Also helps that it's used consistently so the reader can get a feel for the pattern of the names and get into the rhythm. If it's there for no real rhyme or reason then it's just plain aggravating as in Rane's example. Unfortunately, as Mosaix said, this does seem to be becoming more and more popular for some strange reason.
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    star.torturer

    star.torturer Science fiction fantasy

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    hi im joe 'swell
    how you doin
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    Rosemary

    Rosemary The Wicked Sword Maiden

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    I agree, Nesacat. I have no trouble with the apostrophe in names. It certainly helps one to understand a little about the people, where they live or what their station in life is...There are quite a lot of examples in Steven Erikson's books.
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    Thadlerian

    Thadlerian Riftsound resident

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    Aphostrophes to denote slang and sociolects and such, are OK. In names, I hate them. Whenever I see a name with an aphostrophe in the middle, I see an unimaginative author making an exotic-sounding name the cheap way. I don't care whether they're consistent or not; it feels like a great big cliché anyway. I guess it's Robert Jordan who did it.
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    murphy

    murphy New Member

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    I think it was Anne McCaffrey who first started it. When you impressed a dragon and became a dragon rider, your name automatically lost a vowel and gained an apostrophe. Didn't bother me. The later usages did.
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    steve12553

    steve12553 The Enigma of Steel

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    I really think they ought to be creative and create a new character for emphasis so that Microsoft will have to come up with an upgrade to be able to display it on a forum. Don't you?
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    star.torturer

    star.torturer Science fiction fantasy

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    yep taht sounds fun
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    zorcarepublic

    zorcarepublic Seeker of wisdom

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    I tend to use them, but only when creating names, and I set out a reasonably simple grammatical structure for the names.

    Typically I do it with ship class names. But quite a lot of the time I can avoid them by using different emphases (that the right word?)

    For instance, I created a naming system for a specific race. The first syllable would determine whether the class was a ship or a base (Ja- for a ship, Weh- for a base). Then it got more complicated:

    The second part of the name--usually two syllables--would have four letters. The first letter (capital) would determine whether it was a capital ship (H), a cruiser (G) or an escort (F). The third letter would determine whether it was a ship-of-the-line vessel (-r-), a support ship (-l-), a combination of the two (-y-) or a carrier (-yr-). The second and fourth letters would determine whether the vessel was heavy for its type (-u-i), medium (-e-o) or light (-o-a).

    Therefore, a heavy capital line ship was a JaHuri, a light cruiser support/line ship would be a JaGoya, and a carrier variant of the JaGoya would be the JaGoyra.

    Oh, and for bases a -Q would be added at the end, just to distinguish between land, sea and space bases (so a heavy capital line base, or in other words, a war base, would be a WehHuriQ)

    Once it got into fighter territory I gave up :D
  16.  
    star.torturer

    star.torturer Science fiction fantasy

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    that sounds like a raly good way of making up names for characters, tahnks zorca
  17.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    Yep - and all pronouncable! :)
  18.  
    zorcarepublic

    zorcarepublic Seeker of wisdom

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    Well, I wouldn't know about WehHuriQ :D

    Its quite easy to make up a naming system, when you think about it. Just give certain syllables meanings, and soon you'll be creating more names than you can think of...:D

    For another race I created, I simply used three syllables for ship class names. The first two would determine the size of the vessel, and the last syllable would determine what type of vessel it was.

    StaSta- meant heavy
    StaFra- meant medium
    FraFra- meant light

    Then:

    -Gum meant warship (in which case a hyphen and a fourth syllable would be used. -Hak meant command, -Kul meant battle, -Dew meant escort and so on)
    -Vol meant fighter
    -Gar meant civilian vessel (in which case a hyphen and a fourth syllable would be used to determine whether it was a bulk freighter (-Fer), a fuel tanker (-Lup) etc.

    So, given these rules, give me the translation for:

    a) Battleship

    b) Light Fighter

    c) Supertanker
  19.  
    Thunderchild

    Thunderchild Indefatigable

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    errr - do we get little star stickers if we answer correctly
  20.  
    star.torturer

    star.torturer Science fiction fantasy

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    a) StaFraGumKul
    b) FraFraVol
    c) StaStaGarFer

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