forum Need help naming town/cities
Started by @ElderGodSeeba petsbing bing 🐸

people_alt 75 followers

@ElderGodSeeba petsbing bing 🐸

At the moment, the only sources I have are towns that already exist, cool names I find randomly and the odd good one from a randomizer.
Any suggestions on how to go about naming them?
What techniques do you use?
Should I just wait until I stumble across something that fits or should I keep actively looking?

enoch driscoll

I recommend translating the key word (like for a library it would be book, or a mine shaft it would be stone) into Latin(English is made from partial Latin words), and then improvising a name from there.

Lisandre Premium Supporter

There is a lot more to naming places and cities than a random bunch of words and letters stacked together. Toponomy usually uses to common ingredients that help your reader to assiciate event, geography and use to a location.

  • Geography of the place.
    is the town build into a vale, on a brooke, in a meadow, in a gorge, near a lake, islands. For exemple any Springfield, Acton Vale, Sherbrooke, Cape Town, Sunbury-on-Thames.
  • Cardinal points or heights
    South Carolina, North Korea, West Side, Upper County….
  • Discoverer or founder's name, often associate with the suffix Town, Borough, city. Bransontown, Jamestown. Johanesburg. Alexandria, Alexandria, Alexandria, Alexandria
  • Ancient name or original name derived, such as Manhattan island, Mississippi river., Cairo, Beijing. In a fantasy setting it can be an ancient Elvish name converted into a newer language. A good exemple is the Brandywine river bordering the Shire in LOTR. The original name was Baranduin in Sindarin for "golden-brown river". The hobbits of the Shire transfromed it overtime to Branda-nîn, meaning "border water", since it serves as geographical location marker with a similar phonetic. Later, it evolved to Bralda-hîm, meaning "heady ale'' wich is golden-brownish keeping the original meaning of the naming. This was then interpreted by Tolkien as Brandywine into the English rendering of the same word.
  • Qualificatif such a big, little, holy, great, new, old and co
    Most often related to building, geographical features or colonised places. The holy city of Jeruslaem, Hagia Sofia ( meaning holy wisdom). Great Library of Alexandria. Great Wall of China, great barrier reef. Little Italy, New York, Nova Scotia, New Guinea, Old Town, Yellow River, Red Square, White palace
  • Inhabitants and ghetto-isation.
    Is this area refered to via the people who lives or lived in it. Little Italy, China town, Juwish Ghetto, Latin Quarter. French Polysenia, Turkish Islands.
  • Fonction and past use, like a military fonction or palace. Port-royal, Fort Hamilton
  • and many more.

Then the fun begging in mix and matching those elements. i.e Montreal, Quebec, Canada. if you take this real town name, it means the of the royal mountain ( mont and real, old form for royal in french), Quebec is the frenchified name for algongin native ''where the river narrows'' or ''narrow Straight'' and Canada is the word for village or settlement in native Huron-iroquois. WIth this you know that the town of montreal is from french origin, on native land where the rivers narrows and was colonised. Do you need to put all of this in your story, most likely not. Just as the whole exposition for the Brandywine river was never full revealed, but by association you get to piece the puzzel toghether. It enriches your story and developp its lore in a way no other thing can. Manhattan island, is obvioulsy an island. Sunbuy-on-Thames is obviously on the banks of the Thames.
Toponomy is a wonderful tool when used properly and you will save both time and exposition by using it properly.