Punctuation

Fantasy tends to abuse the poor apostrophe, ostensibly using it for a pause, glottal stop, or adding a dash of “h” sound into a name. But really it’s being used to make the name sound more exotic. The punctuation makes it more fantastic by making it less Western. Poor old Tolkien gets the blame for creating this trend, although as a Linguistic professor known for translating Middle English and creating an entire fake language, JRR likely knew what he was doing.

Having spent a lot of time thinking of names for fantasy places and people, making them sound non-Western is exceedingly easy. It’s making them sound real and familiar without being commonplace is hard. There’s an art to naming and making things not sound silly, with names that could be real.