Pronunciation Guide

Those of you who are reading the Rook and Rose series rather than listening to the audiobooks may be wondering how to pronounce things! The rules are relatively simple, as follows:

Vraszenian (modeled on Slavic languages)

  • J = Y (Andrejek = ahn-DRE-yek)
  • Č = CH (Ryvček = RIV-chek)
  • Š = SH (lihoše = lee-HO-she)
  • Ž = ZH (as in “azure,” not as in the pinyin use of that digraph; Nadežra = Nadezhra)
  • SZ = normal S (it’s just spelled that way before/between vowels; Vraszenian = vra-SEN-ee-an)

The vowels are a little mutable, and honestly, we don’t have a consistent rule for when we pronounce them short vs. long. Initially we were using accents to mark that, but we sort of added them randomly, so we wound up taking them back out. Why do we have the SZ = S thing? Because we like the look of it, and because real languages wind up with odd spelling rules like that.

Liganti (modeled on Italianate languages)

  • A = ah
  • E = eh
  • I = ee
  • O = oh
  • U = oo
  • C = ch before an E or an I (Cercel = cher-CHELL)
  • CH = K before an E or an I (Ecchino = eh-KEE-no)
  • G = J before an E or an I (Giuna = JOO-nah)
  • GH = G (hard) before an E or an I (Ghiscolo = gee-SKO-lo)
  • ZZ = TZ (Mezzan = METZ-an)

Liganti is actually based on some dialects or close cousin languages to Italian like Venetian, Ladin, Sardinian, Romansh, and Dalmatian, which is why it has names like Sibiliat that wouldn’t fit into standard Italian. Also, our Italian pronunciation is imperfect in the first place, so there are undoubtedly some smaller rules we’re overlooking . . . and we’re occasionally inconsistent, e.g. the way we say Fadrin sounds more like the word “fade” then “FAH-drin,” which is what it should be.

Seterin (modeled on classical Latin)

  • AE = like the English “eye” (Traementis = try-MEN-tis)
  • AU = like the English “ow” (Viraudax = veer-OW-docks)
  • vowels are otherwise as in Liganti
  • C = K (i.e. always hard)
  • G = G (i.e. always hard)

In theory Seterin is pronounced like classical Latin, because Marie is a Latin nerd. In practice, she makes an exception for V (not pronouncing it with the classical W sound), because she likes that better. There are also terms derived from Seterin whose pronunciation the Liganti have messed with, e.g. Argentet, which uses the soft J sound for the G.

(And outside the world of the story: Marie’s name is accented on the second syllable, mah-REE, and Alyc’s name is uh-LISS, “like a list of items without the T.”)