The Sindarin Name Generator

March 5th, 2010: a few new rules have been added, and I've noticed that others I thought I had fixed are missing; I'll try to get those this weekend.  This generator is constantly looking to improve itself.  If you notice any errors or have any suggestions to make it better, please contact me (il_perfido at yahoo dot co dot uk).

How does this work, and why is it better than the old generator?

Because the old generator was a hastily constructed HTML table, it was condensed down to a few key adjustment rules while being forced to ignore many others, which meant that while it was possible to get good names in most simple cases, there was also ample opportunity for error.  Here, because every possible combination is taken into consideration, you're much more likely to get a correct name.*

*Standard disclaimer: the generator is only as good as the goof who wrote the rules.  And because I thought up the rules, the generator is only as good as my knowledge of Sindarin.  You are putting your OC names in my hands, here.   I have put every effort into making everything as accurate as possible, but due to the complexity of the language and the absolute black-and-white nature of computer coding, no generator can ever be 100% accurate.  The names produced are intended for fanfic, roleplay, and fun purposes only, and not for serious academic study.

How it works is, you click on two little radio buttons to choose your words.  And because he is such a swell guy, Pixellated Fëanor will run through approximately one thousand combination rules to help you on your way to making a correct name.  Isn't that nice of him?**

**Standard disclaimer: Pixellated Fëanor sometimes gets surly and buggers things up on purpose.  Some thinking on the part of the generator user is still required.

Getting Started

It's easy as falling off a horse while shooting fish in a barrel.  What you need to do is scroll down to the table below where you can use the handy radio buttons to select two words: one from each column.  Be sure to choose words that don't sound too much alike.  Like magic, they will appear in text boxes on the right side of your screen!  This is a preview of how your name looks pre-adjustment.  If the words read poorly together or sound lame, you'll probably want to change something.  Pixellated Fëanor's adjustments can only change so much.

Once you've chosen your words, Ask Pixellated Fëanor how they go together to form a name.  Sometimes, words will fit together as-is with no adjustment required.  But if there is an adjustment, the razor-sharp brain of Pixellated Fëanor will do it for you!***  Or, at the very least, tell you that you screwed up beyond help.

***Standard disclaimer:  Pixellated Fëanor is a cheap digital semblance of the original Fëanor, whose consulting fees are far beyond the scope of this lowly name generator.  Because he is the illegitimate lovechild of a WinXP machine and Elrohir's Super Nintendo, he is unable to do anything but follow the instructions written into his programming.  This sometimes leads to errors. Deal with it.

Making Masculine and Feminine Names

Unlike the QuenGen, there are no separate wordlists for masculine and feminine names.  Gender-specific words such as wife, son, lady, and sailor all appear here together.  All other words are gender-neutral and can be used for both men and women. 

Feminine names usually contain more 'feminine' sounds, such as 'il', 'el', or 'eth'. The vowels I and E come up more often in feminine names, especially in the final syllable. Consider: Finduilas, Aredhel, Nimloth, Elwing, Elbereth. They have a 'soft' sound to them. Masculine names, in comparison, have 'harder' sounds, including 'on', 'or', 'od'. The vowel O comes up more often in masculine name endings. Consider: Aragorn, Celeborn, Elrond, Fingon. Usually it's not too difficult to tell by sound alone which names belong to which gender, if they must be assigned at all. Some names could easily be considered unisex: Glorfindel, for example, has both masculine and feminine sounds and could be applied to either a male or female character.

Meaning is another deciding factor in masculine versus feminine names. Many names, such as Glorfindel (to use the same example), have a meaning that is non-gender-specific. 'Golden-haired' could be either a male or female. But some names, like Nimloth ('white flower'), are more obviously feminine, while others like Gildor ('star lord') are obviously masculine. Chances are a name meaning 'dark warrior' will be for a male, while 'morning song' will be a female. Sexist, sure, but that's generally how it goes with Elves. And it somehow works out that the words like warrior, victory, battle, sword just sound more masculine, while the girly words like flower, glitter, shine, and cloud do indeed sound like girly words.

Too lazy to even bother clicking on those radio buttons?  Get your one-touch randomised name of dubious worth here!

Wordlist by Sindarin            Wordlist by English   

So now you have your name!   Keep thinking about it, because you're not finished yet.  Here are a few things that Pixellated Fëanor is too lazy to check for:

Length.  This is an important one.  Pixellated Fëanor can't count.  Nor can he read.  He is a GIF.  GIFs are not good at math, and they are worse at languages.  Count the syllables in your name.  Are there more than four?  It's too long. Sindarin names can be two (Arwen), three (Elladan) or four (Galadriel) syllables long.  Five is pushing it.  Shorter is better.

Accents.  There are only a few ways it can happen here, but it is possible to make a name with too many acute accents.  According to Pixellated Fëanor, Túrúan is a valid name.  According to common sense, it's not.  Accents are fairly rare in Sindarin names.  Usually you'll see none, occasionally you'll find one (Celebrían), but two is too many.  Think about how you want to pronounce your names (consult the guide below if necessary), and drop the accent that doesn't fit.  Most of the time, it will be the second one.  I'd turn Túrúan into Túruan.

Repeated Syllables.  This is a Quenya rule that we may want to import over to the Sindarin side to help in the war against dumb-sounding Elf names.  In Quenya, a name with a repeated syllable (such as lala or arar) can be condensed down to a single occurrence of that syllable (la or ar).  Because Sindarin names with repetitive syllables sound just as dumb as their Quenya counterparts, I wouldn't hesitate to use this rule in cases where it would make an improvement.  A Sindarin name like Ecthelellon sounds silly.  Ecthellon is far better.

Repeated Diphthongs.  This is another Quenya rule that may be applicable to Sindarin.  In Quenya, a name like Ainairon is simplified to Ainaron, with the second AI becoming a single A.  I would see nothing wrong in also using this rule on Sindarin names in the case of a double AE, UI, IE, etc.where keeping the repetition sounds silly.  A name like Maevaethor I would shorten to Maevathor.

Sounding Stupid.  Does it sound stupid?  If so, it's wrong.  Elves do not want stupid-sounding names.  If it's funny-sounding, weird, hard to pronounce, or awkward, even if Pixellated Fëanor says it's fine, take a pass and try again.  Look for synonyms, or change the order of the words.  Pixellated Fëanor can adjust letters, pick out common errors, and smite impossible combinations, but he has no common sense.  Only you can properly name your Elf. 

How to Pronounce the Names (that is, which syllable is stressed)

Generally (and by generally I mean about half the time), the stress falls on the second-last syllable. Two-syllable names, such as Arwen, are always the easiest, because the stress is always on the first syllable.  AR-wen. Three- or four-syllable names are a bit trickier.

If the second-last syllable contains an accented vowel (í, ó, ú), then it will be stressed, as in "Celebrían" : ce-leb-RI-an.  Also, if the second-last syllable contains a diphthong or a consonant cluster, it will be stressed, as in "Glorfindel": glor-FIND-el

If the second-last syllable has only one unaccented vowel followed by one or no consonants, it is a weak syllable and cannot be stressed.  The name "Elrohir" has an unaccented "o" followed by a single "h".  In this case, the stress is shifted back to the third-last syllable, and the pronunciation is EL-ro-hir.  The same goes for "Thranduil", in which the second-last syllable, the "u", has no consonant cluster following it.  The pronunciation is therefore THRAN-du-il.  Note that the "u" and "i" here are two separate syllables.

Some examples of second-last syllable stress:
Erestor = e-REST-or
Mithrandir = mith-RAN-dir
Imladris = im-LAD-ris

Some examples of weak second-last syllables with displaced third-last-syllable stress:
Galadhon = GAL-adh-on (the DH counts as a single letter, not a consonant cluster)
Elladan = ELL-a-dan
Lothiriel = loth-IR-i-el
Eregion = er-EG-i-on

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This Generator was created by the glorious talent of Lenine, because my website skills are limited to sucky basic HTML.