Friday, February 08, 2013

Istanbul (not Constantinople)

So where are we flying to EXACTLY?

As we have thrown the Gauntlet of No Content firmly into the dirt with that last post, it seems only fair to get down there with it and have a good old roll around with an issue that has caused a fair bit of contention in this house over the years: pronunciation. Mr Alt's one of those people that, if you still wrote letters into newspapers to complain about bad grammar and general sloppy behaviour when it comes to words, would have run out of red pens a long time ago. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, far from it, and I love the regional discrepancies that certain words throw up: the scone versus scone debate, for instance, is one I hope runs and runs for centuries to come.

There are even more problems when it comes to places that don't actually exist, or characters that have been made up by a lovely person in a building in Anaheim, especially when it's not a name you hear used on a regular basis. One such place is Dalaran.

Ever since Wrath launched, I'd assumed the place I'd log into every day was DAL-LARRR-RAN, that is until Brann got all clever and saved the planet yet again from Algalon. Then we got this video and, to my horror (and that of Mr Alt) we find that not only Rhonin really need to stop putting his inflection in all the wrong places, but he calls this place DA-LA-RAN???1!!1??!! DOO WOT? This clear mispronunciation has been mercilessly mocked by fellow Guildies for quite some time, but I find myself unable to say Dalaran because, frankly, it just feels WRONG. I don't know if this is a regional thing, or a US/UK thing, but it does make me think twice about talking to anyone about zones where I'm not 150% certain of how you might pronounce them correctly, because there is nowt worse than making yourself look like an utter idiot by saying summat the wrong way.

Pandaria itself is a bit of a minefield: is that PAN-DARRR-IA or PAN-DARE-A? Then there's Krasarang (which let's face it on a good day I'll spell wrong anyway) and all manner of Chinese names that are simply ripe for making complete hashes out of. Of course this is all very well and good when it's just your mates on Vent, but it occurs to me that if I ever were to get into a serious conversation with people I don't know about such things, I could just make a complete fool out of myself. I suspect I'd also end up beginning many conversations with the statement 'So, before we start, how do you pronounce 'X'?' so I could just cover my behind. It isn't just Warcraft either, it could be any gaming experiences unique vocabulary: however for that I have a 12 year old who, should I dare say anything incorrectly will just give me That Look followed by 'Mum, you are just utterly hopeless.'

I think, if anyone at Blizzard is bored, it would not be a bad idea to release a definitive pronunciation guide to all the 'difficult' names and places in game, so that, once and for all, pedants like me know exactly what is the Standard Blizzard Form for dragons, place names and annoying floating capital cities in Northrend. I realise it's probably not high on the list of priorities, but I for one would be very grateful.


Lizzyuh said...

Tru fax: I still say "Panda-ren" instead of "Pan-DAH-ren" as heard in the lowbie quests in the Pandaren starting zone.

I think it'd be good if Blizzard released a pronunciation guide. Especially for the new expansion.

Tip: "X" is usually pronounced as "sh" in Chinese. Like Xuen is "shoowen" where the "shoo" and "wen" are spoken together very fast.

Great post! :D

Bob Flintston said...

I always pronounce Dalaran as Dal-A-ran.

Also being a Northerner I have never got used to the imaginary addition of R when added to a A. Examples are Bath - prounced Barth
or Shaman prounounced Sharman.

One peculiar example is Yorkshire people say Marster and Plarster.

This is what makes language so interesting, who is right and who is wrong? They are both right of course.

Bristal said...

Totally agree. My first realm was Korialstrasz, which didn't inspire me to explore unpronounceable lore.

Perhaps Lorewalker Cho could have a twin brother Loretalker?

Jonathan said...

I've always used DA-la-ran as that seemed right. Da-LAR-ran has always seemed wrong to me because it uses the letter R twice when there's only one in the name, plus it's using the 'Da' bit as though it was the Italian prefix 'Da' in Da Vinci.

Also, try pronouncing 'Basildon' the same way as you and Mr Alt would pronounce 'Dalaran'. :-)

TheGrumpyElf said...

Just like Bob I always said Dal-a-ran. Just seemed right.

For this expansion I go for Pan-dar-ren and Pan-dar-ia. Probably because that was my first guess and I just stuck with it.

As for the wilds, I don't even try, I said it so wrong for so long I gave up.

Kamalia said...

Dangit, Godmother, now you've got TMBG stuck in my head! Not that that's a BAD thing, mind... :)

I always think of the city of the Kirin Tor as DAL-arr-an, with the first syllable pronounced to rhyme with the first syllable of names such as AL-fred or AL-bert.

In my head, the continent we are currently exploring is Pan-DARR-iya, and its hotly contested southern shores are the Kross-arr-rong Wilds.