Join Date: Jul 2005
Re: "Hola... Hai! hai! yoi!"???
My aopolgies to the OP for derailing this thread.
Oku, I find that there are few names in English that begin with X or Z. Since there are few personal names that begin with X or Z, let alone an apostrophe, these letters should denote a foreign flavor, correct? Not necessarily. I cannot recall the specific titles nor authors of the myriad fantasy and sci-fi that I read thirty years ago (that is not a great start to my defence, I know), but it seemed that half of the authors name their villains Zatan instead of Satan, Xong instead of Kong, or even 'X'zzz'zzz. I've seen heroes' names like Ximothy, 'Zonald, and X'atrick. I'd rather have an author give me an alternate spelling with a plausible consonant to change the spelling and sound of Patrick... something like Badrig, Matrek, Thadrick, or Shetrick... or even a non-English spelling of Patrick, like Padraig.
Tolkien's names follow certain plausible patterns. I admit I'm no linguist, obviously Catswold is. But Tolkien employed certain consonant sounds, certain vowel sounds, and certain syllable formations into the separate foundations of Quenya, Noldorin, Sindarin, Adunaic, Khuzdul, Entish, and Hobbit-speech. Tolkien had rules for his languages so that the names stemming from those languages sound plausible.
The best example I can give for the opposite of Tolkien is Edgar Rice Burroughs. I devoured the stories of John Carter when I was thirteen. I still love John Carter and Barsoom, but I cannot read them now, not only because of the implausibility of the names, but because of the absurdity of the stories themselves.
Ah, to be an adolescent again!
The Green Men of Mars have names like Tars Tarkas, Sarkoja, Lorquas Ptomel, Gozava, Sola, Dotar Sojat, Hortan Gur, Bar Comas, Dak Kova, Kab Kadja, Tal Hadjus, O-mad, Tan Gama, Thar Ban, and Zad. A couple of rules stand out... Green Women have only one name: Gozava, Sarkoja, and Sola. Unblooded young men don't have the full two names either: O-mad and Zad. The third rule seems that these space orcs have difficulty in putting more than two syllables together at a time.... elven elegence is definitely lost on them.
So what's the problem, Boaz? The problem is that the Green Men share no cultural or social ties with the Red Men, yet they share the exact same language. There's no difference in dialect, no difference in slang, no difference in colloquial usage.... The only difference is the Red Women can have two names and that Red Men get two names before they have to kill anyone. Oh, yeah, the other hidden races of White, Black, Yellow, and Red Men all over Mars reveals that language is exactly the same as the current language in Helium. That solves many potential plot difficulties.
ERB only ever translates one or two words from Barsoomian into English. The primary of these is 'sak'... which means 'to jump'. I always thought the Green Men should have named John Carter in honor of his great ability. Sak. Sak Sakker. The Great Sakker. Huge Sak. I'm just glad John Carter always practiced safe sak.
The bottom line is what does Dotar Sojat mean? The movie was incorrect... Dotar and Sojat were names/the names of the first two Green Men he killed. We know that Elwe means Star Man/Person, Elrond means Star Dome, Elros means Star Foam, Elrohir means Star Knight, and Eldar means People of the Stars. (Take a guess how that applies in 40K.)
ERB just used syllables he thought reflected either noble, villainous, barbaric, or refined sounds.
The pinnacle of ERB's names is probably John Carter. It's the most imaginative. The worst names are Xaxa and Xaxak, but the most egregious uses occur with Z... Zanda of Zondanga, Zat Arras of Zodanga, and Zu Tith of Zor.
Most of my posts are located in the GRRM forum. I do like the way Martin plays with English names. He does use a few X's. But his changes are usually more subtle and more plausible. For example, Eddard is an obvious variation of Edward, yet still plausible. Lyanna instead of Leanna. Benjen instead of Benjamin. Aemon instead of Eamon. Catelyn instead of Kathleen. Pate instead of Pete. Aeron instead of Aaron. And Patrek instead of Patrick.
All in all, I guess it's a matter of taste. We're discussing art after all.