Saturday, February 5, 2011

An interesting resource for naming fictional countries

I ran across this link yesterday and it struck me immediately as a great source of ideas for worldbuilders. It's a map of our world - but the countries are labeled with literal translations of their names. I have been discussing this on Facebook, and a few of the translations have come into question - for example Aliette de Bodard pointed out that a better translation for Vietnam might be Southern People rather than Southern Land - but still it's valuable from a worldbuilding point of view. If you've ever felt held back by the idea of naming yet another country either randomly or by calling it "land of the people," this will give you some ideas for alternate approaches.

Also, when naming countries keep in mind that not all countries keep the names given to them by the indigenous people who live there - some have names superimposed by their more powerful neighbors!