m. c. de marco: The Accidental Conlanger

They call the wind Maria: Naming Languages

They spell the wind “Maria” in Paint Your Wagon, the musical from which the song originates, although they call it “Mariah”—a good example of the transcription issues involved in conlanging, even if your conlang is just a naming language.

Naming languages are the favorite conlang of the accidental conlanger. Writers frequently name ten or twenty characters with little consideration beyond a name’s appeal to their own ear. This is a legitimate approach, if you have a good ear (see, for example, Ruanja), or if the story is short enough that the names you pulled out of your raesasr won’t have a chance to wear on the reader. But as people, places, and pages proliferate, you may want to take a more consistent approach to constructing names.

In this section of the book, we will consider a wide range of approaches to constructing naming languages, including no language at all.

October 2, 2008