Fiction and Fantasy

Thoughts and excerpts from the mind of Jeannette Jonic


First off, sorry for the delay in updates! Adult things got in the way of my posting for a couple days, so I’ll try to make it up to you this week!

Now, you may or may not know this, but I’m a perfectionist. I’m also super self-conscious. Annnd I’m also terrified of being judged. It’s a terrible combination, one which I hope none of you suffer from.

Needless to say, I’m hyper-sensitive to being wrong. I want to be correct! I like to get things right the first time (living life is very difficult for a perfectionist, as you can already tell).

This goes for just about everything, but for me, it goes double for anything related to words. I mean, words are my life. I devoted fifteen years of my glory days in order to study them!

So I’m very conscientious of spelling and pronunciation. I want to get it right. Mostly to avoid those awkward situations when you’ve been saying a name a certain way for literally years–only for that one person to start scoffing. Oh, you know the one. Obnoxiously-nasally voice. Grating lack of tact. Raised index finger gesticulating in the air as they proceed to “correct” you:

“It’s not DEE-koo seed! It’s DAY-koo!”

Everybody’s a critic.

And were I the one-liner queen that I wish I was, that is the moment when I’d put my Communication Arts education to work as never before. I’d coolly explain to them how any living language transforms over time. I’d point out that this is why the current pronunciation of “Deku” is almost certainly not the original pronunciation (and thus even their “correct” pronunciation is, by their standards, wrong). In addition, I’d assert that the pronunciation of “Deku” has probably changed multiple times over the course of history, so there’s probably a long history of people, like our Scoffer, trying to correct others only for history to have made all their “corrections” moot. And were the Scoffer a fellow American, I’d also point out that both our pronunciations are more than likely terribly mutated Americanized pronunciations of a foreign word, and that our American English probably doesn’t even use the phones (word-sounds) required to pronounce it correctly. And that’s not even touching on dialectal pronunciations, none of which can truly be considered “right” or “wrong” in a technical sense, only “more accepted” by the overarching social structures–and who cares about what they think, anyway?–
Of course, I’d never dream of being that nasally scoffer (psh, what’s projection?), but I do have certain ways I pronounce the names of the people and places in my books. Would I say those are the “correct” pronunciations? Well… I would have before, yes.
But you know what? I think writing this post has altered my perception. You go ahead and pronounce those names however your little heart desires.
But for heaven’s sake, it’s JAR-uh-nin, not juh-RA-nin.
Hee. Just for funsies, here’s how I pronounce my main cast from The Victor’s Blade:
Jaranin – JAR-uh-nin (like a jar)
Isalaina – iz-uh-LAY-nuh
Elun – EE-lun
Zaelor – ZAY-lor
Emarella – em-uh-REH-luh
…There’s a lot of schwas.
Oh, and here’s some other miscellaneous ones:

Amboron – AHM-boh-rahn
Thoranan – THOR-ah-nahn
Maddokar – MAD-doh-kar (yes, like a car… beep beep.)

I can’t be the only one who’s met those Scoffers, right? Or have you–like me! Gasp!–been one of them sometimes? Do certain pronunciations just drive you up a wall? Which ones really grate on your nerves?
Photo posted by JanDix, courtesy of
From Him, To Him


7 responses to “Pronunciations”

  1. Unknown Avatar

    You sweet thing! Thanks for the pronunciations. ☺

  2. Jeannette Jonic Avatar

    Any time! If there are any other words you're curious about, just leave me a comment! 🙂

  3. Curtis M. Avatar

    It's good knowing about pronunciations. I have been trying that from time to time especially when I use really ethnic names.

  4. Jeannette Jonic Avatar

    I've been trying to make sure my character names look as close to the pronunciation as possible, but to some degree, you're always going to have people pronouncing it differently! Ah well~

  5. Curtis M. Avatar

    Of course. I also want to know the pronunciations on the names I research. That is true about some people mispronouncing things though. I do have to think about my made up names like with alien and non-human characters.

  6. Jeannette Jonic Avatar

    I wish I could remember what resource I saw this on–it was such a useful website. But the author basically said "Create your names in the context of who the person is. If it's an alien race, think about how they speak: how are their mouths designed? How would their language naturally develop? Build their names off that." It was such great advice! I definitely need to take a look at my city names in TVB and make sure they make sense based on the worldbuilding and languages.

  7. Curtis M. Avatar

    That's great advice.

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About the Author

Jesus-follower. Quirkaholic. Born at the tail end of 1989. Writing since I learned how to read.

Graduated Judson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing.

Currently working on The Victor’s Blade, a high fantasy trilogy.

I tell stories about ordinary people becoming heroes by facing their flaws, fears, and regrets. Because only by growing ourselves can we protect others.