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guyanonymous
05-23-2009, 09:05 PM
Do any of you have a list of place name conventions? What I mean is the prefixes, suffixes, and extra bits that tend to be incorporated into different categories of place names.

For example

_____ville
_____ City
New _____
Point _____
_____ Canyon
_____ Sea
Lake _____

and so on...

I've found, in the past, some generators, but I'm wanting to work with my own setup for naming thousands of places.

Ascension
05-23-2009, 09:14 PM
Never thought about that but I'll throw in a few that I just thought of:

___ Hill
___ Fort
___bend
___ford
___ Vale
___wick
Le ___
La ___
el ___
Las ___
Los ___
[insert color here] ___
[insert descriptive adjective here] ___
[place] of [noun/emotion/verb] (like Hill of Oaks/Sorrows/Killing)

Just a few off the top of my head; gonna put these into a document and keep that handy.

ironmetal250
05-23-2009, 11:08 PM
If you're naming thousands of places it might be easier to write a simple program with a C++ compiler or something to generate exactly the number of names you need with a bunch of preconditions, such as the ones mentioned here, and some consonant sounds/words to work with. This can also work for conlanging (for coming up with base words for your language) if you're doing that for your world.

guyanonymous
05-23-2009, 11:52 PM
That's my plan, though as a non programmer, I'll likely muddle something up in Excel or Access.

guyanonymous
05-24-2009, 01:08 AM
Here's my first attempt at a random name (ok...chain of phonemes) using Excel (xlsx format, sorry)

It's based on these phonetic sounds:

a
ah
aw
ay
e
ee
er
i
ie
oh
oi
oo
ow
u
ue
uh
ur

b
ch
d
f
g
h
j
k
l
m
n
ng
p
r
s
sh
t
th
xh
v
w
wh
y
z
zh

A given name may have 3-6 sounds (if I did it right) which will be in the form of:

CVCVCV
CVCVC
CVCV
VCVCV
VCVC
VCV

(where C is a consonant sound, V is a vowel sound)

guyanonymous
05-24-2009, 01:19 AM
Here are a few of the generated names...

l-oh-zh-ue
d-ur-z-a-h
y-ay-m-oi-j
j-i-f-ay-j-ae
b-er-v-oi
j-uh-r-ur
aw-l-u
u-p-oh-t-oo
r-oh-g-ee
th-ue-th-ah-k-ue
n-ie-ng-ur
sh-er-f-oi-xh
oo-sh-oh-wh-ue
w-ae-zh-oh
f-oh-ng-aw-wh
m-ah-p-u
z-ee-v-ee-t-ae
aw-n-u
ae-sh-oi-zh
b-ae-w-i-th-oh
aw-r-ow-p-u
g-ay-f-ae-k-oh
j-ah-w-a-h-a
h-ie-k-uh
v-a-b-uh
ay-l-ay-v-uh
f-ay-z-oi-ch
y-ee-ng-ae-sh-ae
ow-ch-oi-g-ue
ae-g-a
ay-th-oi-y
b-ow-p-oh-l
p-uh-f-oi-zh
m-aw-sh-oo-n-ae
z-oo-j-ue-k-oh
n-uh-ng-ee-ch-oh
ae-h-uh-m
n-oi-s-er-h-oi
ah-xh-er-ng-i
ow-y-oo
ng-ow-b-ur-j
k-a-th-uh-f-oh
ie-f-ur-l
m-ee-ch-uh-k-ah
th-oi-m-ah-d-oo
sh-ae-l-ie-d-a
ah-b-ah-v-aw
y-ie-s-ie-t-er
b-ee-m-ow-xh-er
ch-uh-ch-ah-z
aw-r-ue-n
w-aw-b-ur-z
b-uh-wh-ae-j-ay
oo-m-ue-wh-ee
r-ow-k-ie-sh-i
z-i-n-a
ue-r-ee
b-i-t-ue
zh-ay-l-oh-w-oh
g-ue-z-er-wh-oi
p-oh-t-u-b
ch-ah-z-er
a-v-uh-w-a
j-ur-m-ue-s
d-ow-zh-oi-g-ae
b-ae-t-ue-f-a
ah-b-oo
sh-ur-wh-er-z
ch-i-h-ay-k-ee
aw-j-er-z
uh-h-oh-v-a
j-uh-b-oo-w
n-oo-xh-i
t-uh-f-er
w-i-l-ae-ng-ur
t-er-f-a-l
zh-uh-p-ow-th
g-oh-ch-aw-w
a-d-ur-sh
ue-r-uh-z
ow-j-ie-xh-a
xh-ay-f-u-wh
u-h-ur-f-aw
sh-ay-p-i
y-i-l-i-d-ie
ch-ow-j-ah-sh
ch-oo-w-uh-v-er
b-ie-j-i-zh
v-oi-m-ae-l-oi
oh-r-ie
r-u-h-ae-n-u
f-i-ng-ee-r
th-ie-n-ee
s-uh-sh-a-k

Lathorien
05-24-2009, 03:19 AM
Some quirky ones that use or can think of
___ Wall/Bastion/Citadel
___ Springs/Pond/Bank/Stream/Falls
___ Pit/Burrows/Mine/Quarry/Shale
___ Vale/Glade/Meadows
___ Gap/Pass/Walk/March
___ Fort/Keep/Tower/Watch/Post
___ Berg/Borg (just means town)
___ Point/Bay/Harbor/Moor/Bank
___ Camp/Outpost/Tradepost
___ Meet/Mark
___ Valley/Ridge/Mount/Crag/
___ Briar/Fields/Delta/Grove

That's all i got for now off the top of my my head, i will look into it more an come back tommorow.

NeonKnight
05-24-2009, 03:31 AM
I gave a big discussion on this waaaaaaaaaaaay back:

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=9546&postcount=6

alaskanflyboy
05-24-2009, 05:58 AM
For generators, I'd suggest using NBOS's Inspiration Pad. It's free, and fairly easy to create generators for. There's also a program — I have a hard time finding it these days — called Lang Maker that was useful for creating fictional languages. It was set to do what you did in Excel.

Ryan K
05-24-2009, 07:20 AM
I tend to use generators myself, pick and choose the ones I want and tweak them a bit so that they feel more like they belong in my world. It's shamelessly easy.

Gandwarf
05-24-2009, 07:25 AM
I never used generators for place names, but I only had a few dozen to worry about. Most of the place names in my world just describe the location, like Greenwood, Lakeside, Twomountain, Northgate, Whitestead, etc.

I did use generators for some of the character names.

Ryan K
05-24-2009, 07:28 AM
I was involved in a collaborative project with a friend and we have a couple of adventurers getting from A to B (such is their wont), and for some reason or other we were obsessing over the name of the first town that they visit. In all our planning we kept calling it 'that first town' until I eventually threw up my hands and said:

"Thafirton"

So, it stuck.

guyanonymous
05-24-2009, 10:41 AM
Thanks one and all....

I tracked won the Ispiration Pad program, and I will test it it later today if things go well.

guyanonymous
05-24-2009, 10:43 AM
...and here's the lang maker program...

http://www.langmaker.com/langmake/#Download%20Now!

Albrechtw4
06-01-2009, 11:50 PM
I cheat and use real names a lot of times.

I pick a background culture and then find names in that language that sound good. I did one map with a mediteranean theme and most of my city names were olive species.

Personal names for place names are also fun and have realworld counterparts. Franz Josef Land, Hudson Bay, Bolivia and America to name a few.

alaskanflyboy
06-04-2009, 01:40 PM
I was involved in a collaborative project with a friend and we have a couple of adventurers getting from A to B (such is their wont), and for some reason or other we were obsessing over the name of the first town that they visit. In all our planning we kept calling it 'that first town' until I eventually threw up my hands and said:

"Thafirton"

So, it stuck.

Sounds about like my temptation with trying to name some cities in a current project. I've been wracking my brain to give the first settlement (now a small city) on this planet a good name. Firston seems to be the name I keep coming to, despite wanting something more meaningful and original. But, it fits.

Karro
06-04-2009, 02:59 PM
Another useful word-generator I discovered:

http://bprhad.wz.cz/awkwords/index.php

Pretty powerful, I found, allowing you to set allowable consonants as well as vowels, and to split the allowable consonants up into different groups (with up to 26 variables for different groups) so that, for instance, you can have one set of consonants allowable at syllable onset, and a different set of consonants allowable at the termination of the syllable. The only drawback, I think, is the limitations on the characters usable, though you can use digraphs and a few other symbols to supplement the a-z lowercase group.

I'm going to have to give the downloadable langmaker and inspiration pad a try. Excellent links!

alaskanflyboy
06-04-2009, 04:14 PM
I've found Langmaker has a steep learning curve, which has prevented me from doing too much with it despite having found it somewhere where over a decade ago. Granted, I was in middle school at the time. I did see a lot of potential in it as long as you got some of the basic rules of your language out of the way, such as prefixes, suffixes, and other such things. Think of languages such as Spanish where — with a few exceptions — nouns end in "o" and "a", and verbs end in "ar", "er", and "ir". If you set up a list of nouns, verbs, or adjectives; along with their rules for endings, it could pump out a decent start for a fictional language.

Caleb
06-08-2009, 11:35 PM
I myself would not recommend using random name generators; mainly because their results are often repetitive, and it's hard to actually generate a place-name with the right feel that you need.

I do recommend looking in Toponomy, though. Toponomy is the study of toponyms (place-names) their meaning, and their origin. Once you understand just the very, very basics of it, a door in your mind will open up, and you should be able to create original, and creative names for places that actually fit well, and sound right.

Here is the wikipedia article about toponomy, scan through this, and you'll see tons of helpful information, plus links to other great wiki articles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toponomy

Hope this helped. :)

guyanonymous
06-08-2009, 11:49 PM
Thanks for the suggestion!

CartoGeo
07-10-2009, 09:32 PM
I own both Inspiration Pad and also another generator called TableSmith. Has anyone created any libraries for either of these two applications? I am specifically looking for Fantasy genre names, mostly places... I did review the Wiki article on Place-Names "Toponymy" but might need to build on the foundations of what others have done for these two apps instead of starting from scratch.

Greason Wolfe
07-10-2009, 10:40 PM
Hrm . . . I'm sort of working on a library based on Old Norse for Inspiration Pad. Haven't gotten very far on it as it is very very much a side project attached to my current World Building Project. Once (read that as IF) I manage to get it all together, I'd be happy to share.

GW

Katto
07-30-2009, 07:42 AM
As always I found this thread too late.
While following Ascension's antique map tutorial I was horrified when it came to the part of city naming. I tried a few name generators, but was not really happy with them. So I wrote a small program for this in VB. Perhaps you will find it useful.

Coyotemax
07-30-2009, 04:10 PM
Excellent, I will so have to give that a try.

I know what you mean about the naming portion of that tutorial, I went kind of nuts when I was placing town markers, completely forgot what i would be in for on the next step.

Still, hang in there, it's worth doing all the tedious work in the long run. I was amazed I actually managed to name everything without resorting to a generator, but I'm looking forward to having a tool such as yours at hand for the next version :)

Meridius
08-11-2009, 10:01 PM
I usually generate Dutch-sounding and derived names for my current project (which is my most serious mapping endeavour to date). But it works in English too. Look at regions and then to the names in that region. Quite often, you'll note similarities.

Looking at Wikipedia entries for real place names often reveals something about the history of the name. If you read enough of these, you'll end up with a good feeling for place names in your language if you look at these descriptions enough.

Important is to learn to fluently put landscape elements into a well flowing name. And fluent is really relative. Just plunking two words after each other often works. The trick is to get a feeling for WHICH words.

Also try to use multiple variations of names. A forest, some plains and a town can all easily be derived from one name. Also, don't feel afraid to take a name, add 'bridge', 'swamp' or similar endings to it and use them on the same map near the original.

Wold is a Dutch alternative to 'Woud' which means something like 'forest' or 'wood'. So in a region, one could create several names by adding the Dutch words for 'North, East, South and West' (Noord, Oost, Zuider en West) to that name: Noordwolde, Oosterwolde, Zuidwolde, Westwolde. (Ooster = Eastern). So that would basically translate to 'Northwood, Eastwood, Southwood, and Westwood'. So real names are not all that original either ;) (especially since even those translations seem to exist). Always try to find synonyms for key words: Castle, Keep, Stronghold etc. That's also where looking at real names and their history is useful, here you often find different synonyms (which are often ancient words shorthanded) which cannot be found in a synonym dictionary.

Another fun way is to look at wiki-entries, and search for the OLD names of towns. Grantebrycge makes for a very impressive fantasy name... but actually, it's Cambridge's old name. It's possible to take this a step further, and modify it slightly. Grantebridge makes for a slightly more pronounceable name.

Steel General
08-12-2009, 09:24 AM
I have actually thought of using a Tagalog (Filipino) influenced naming convention, my wife is from their so translations are easy. Still haven't made up my mind about it though.

jaspertjie
12-11-2009, 11:50 AM
Nah, I don't like name generators. Doesn't have anything with my language.

Nathan
07-21-2010, 08:16 AM
About english toponymy, can someone explain me the rules about the use of St. ans Ste. instead of Saint and Sainte ?
For exemple : "St. Louis" "Sault Ste. Marie" "Saint Lawrence" "St. Elizabeth" and so on...
:)

RobA
07-21-2010, 08:23 AM
About english toponymy, can someone explain me the rules about the use of St. ans Ste. instead of Saint and Sainte ?
For exemple : "St. Louis" "Sault Ste. Marie" "Saint Lawrence" "St. Elizabeth" and so on...
:)

AFAIK, Not English. French! Ste. (Sainte) is the French while St. (Saint) is the English.

-Rob A>

Ascension
07-21-2010, 08:30 AM
St. is just an abbreviation for Saint and Ste is the feminine abbreviation. St. Louis was named for the crusader king King Louis of France. Sometimes in various online forms I have to use the full Saint instead of St.

RobA
07-27-2010, 12:31 PM
St. is just an abbreviation for Saint and Ste is the feminine abbreviation. St. Louis was named for the crusader king King Louis of France. Sometimes in various online forms I have to use the full Saint instead of St.

I checked with a francophone colleague of mine and he confirmed that st is the short form of saint (masculine) and ste is the short form of sainte (feminine form of saint) so a female saint in French is a Sainte (Ste. Anne, Ste. Marie, Ste. Judy). He did check in a french grammar book ,and it indicated that for place names from religious figures it should not be abbreviated, instead the whole Sainte or Saint should be used.

-Rob A>

su_liam
07-29-2010, 04:41 PM
I gave a big discussion on this waaaaaaaaaaaay back:

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=9546&postcount=6

Thus, I propose, "The Grand Excagerate Republic!"

Kharon Alpua
08-30-2010, 01:53 PM
I approach place naming from two different sides depending on mood.

In the first approach, I make a name by english meaning: Farm Village, for example, might become Farmville (no connection to the game of the same name) which I would then use as a basis for shaping elements out of my conlang of choice. In this case, I look at "farm" and "city", which are kangre and rishé, and looking at the combinations I can form from that, I settle on Karishé as the name for a city which roughly means "farm-town", referencing the fact that, when it was founded, it was a farming community.

In the second, I find a name I like and modify it to fit my world. For example, in my early days, a number of my names were rather uninspired: I had a pair of ports named Olympia (at the base of the Olympia mountain range) and Camelot (a city built into a cliff peninsula). Looking at my language, I said "Surely I can take these obviously uninspired names and come up with something which maintains the rhythmic feel, but is my own." Thus I looked at my language for elements which might fit. Olympia led me to orind (gold) and c'honthia (sea-port), which led naturally into becoming the Port of Gold, or Orinthia. For Camelot, I followed the path of describing it by name: the City of Carved Stone, which produced Kamelon, from kangré (city), nimelorm (to carve), and noc (rock, stone).

Occasionally I follow a third path: Make a name which sounds good and then reverse etymologize it either by finding suitable roots or by making them, if none can be found. For example, on my Map of Atrusia (in the Region/World forum), many of the names are made following this path, with only a small thought being given to meaning. The exceptions are on the eastern side -- the cities in the mountains are dwarvish and follow particular naming procedure based on two elements: the name are meant to sound vaguely Japanese, and to share common elements. For example, Medrídana holds an element I know to mean "valley", but doesn't have a full etymology. Likewise, both Ijíamo and Kenjíamo share the element iamo for mountain (in both cases, the í comes from being a double-i in my dwarf language; iciiamo and kenjiiamo) while Saroda and Aci Kiyoda share the element da for "a fortress or capital city", while Aci Kiyoda in particular means "New Seat of the Crown" (kiyo being the crown's seat and da being a capital), and is derived from "kyôto", the old imperial seat of Japan (I mentioned elsewhere, my dwarves do have a japanese style of culture, and this is shared in the design of their language).