A Guide to Devanandi Names
Dragons – I chose Hindi as the basis for my draconic language. It’s a beautiful language full of short “a”, long “a”, and long “e” sounds. I use the http://hindi-english.org site extensively. The one thing they don’t have is an audio function, so I don’t always know how the word sounds when properly spoken. However, this is a fantasy setting, so perfect translations aren’t required. Since the dragons are considered divine, their language is considered divine as well. Other than place and dragon names, you won’t find Draconic being used by the general population. No one would dare to use the language of the gods to name their child, or utter the holy words in common usage.
Elves – I chose Polynesian/Hawaiian for the elves of Devanand. It’s got that tongue twisting lilting quality I’ve always associate with the fae.
Dwarves – I liked the idea of a more tribal feel for the dwarves, and chose to use native North American languages for them. Dwarves are very clannish. I try to use a single language base for each of the major dwarven centers. So if I have a dwarvish character, I have to know where he’s from before I can properly name him.
Gnomes – For the gnomes I wanted something different. I chose to use Asian languages as the basis for gnomish ones. I chose Japanese for the mountain gnomes, Chinese for the gnomes of the Vasu plains, Vietnamese for the gnomes from Lalika, and Cambodian for the gnomes of the southern jungles. The gnomes of the north migrated from these other areas. For each northern community, then, I would choose (or roll a d4) where the community founders were from.
Humans – I began work on Devanand in the city of Kerani, in the middle of the desert, so I chose to use Arabic for my human characters. Humans, however, are highly adaptable, and may incorporate other languages (all but Draconic). So Vietnamese is also a valid choice when naming humans from Lalika. Japanese and Choctaw would be equally valid choices for naming humans from the mountains around God’s Eye. They’re very strange, those humans.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.