I've got a character I'm working on, and I want to give him a cool name.
This character is a Kellid. Here's what the setting books say about Kellid naming conventions:
"Kellid names often sound brusque and harsh, with guttural sounds and hard consonants. Usually consisting of no more than two syllables, Kellid names are brief by necessity. In the unforgiving and violent wastes of the North, the half-second it takes to bark a Kellid name can often mean the difference between survival and death. Kellids make little use of second names within their own communities, though renowned figures can earn descriptive titles befitting their deeds and accomplishments. Traditionally, Kellid children are unnamed until they survive their first winter" (People of the North, Page 6).
The catch is that I'm interested in using a name from Celtic mythology that sounds nothing like what's described above: Belenus, a Celtic god of light associated with the Beltane spring celebration.
What I want to do is take the name "Belenus" and Kellidize it, if you will, make it more harsh and quick to say, while still being somewhat recognizable as its root form.
My understanding of Celtic and Gaulish mythology is that the majority of those gods are actually known to us through their Greek or Roman names, not their native names.
In Belenus' case, it's a Greek name. Try using some of the other variations of his name, such as Beli Mawr (belly-MORE) or shorten it to Bel'mor (bell-MORE).
Or just sort of bastardize it to Bell-NUSS.
Emphasising the second syllable will make it more gutteral.
Try using a Slavic language for Kellid names; it tends to capture some of the flavor. Or possibly Hungarian.
Perun might make a better model for a Kellid than Belenus, anyway.
I'm mainly just thinking out loud here, so take what's useful, and ignore the rest (IAALBJST*). I hope it helps you come up with a cool name.
"Belenus" is (unfortunately in this context) about the opposite of "harsh and guttural",
* l and n are practically vowels (sonorant consonants), so the first thing I'd do is swap them for a "t" or "d": Betedus or Betetus, for example. (That's a pretty standard linguistic change. It might be where the "t" in Beltane comes from, but I don't actually know)
* people are lazy and like to rush speech, and Kellid names (as above) are usually only 2 syllables, so I'd swquash the middle syllables together, because they're so similar: Betus
* that final "s" is pretty anti-climactic, so I'd swap that out too. It "should" also shift to a "t" or "d", but we already have too many, so I'd shift to "g" or "k", for variety: Betuk I chose "k", because it's "harsher" than "g" (voiceless vs voiced stops)
"Betuk" doesn't really sound like "Belenus" any more, but you'd know the origin.
HTH and thanks for giving me a Wednesday morning brainteaser!
* I AM a linguist**, but just spitballing this.
** sort of
|Rosgakori Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere|
For kellids, I mostly pick celtic names. I usually use sites like this to pick up names. I also meddle around them a bit. My latest kellid character is called Neema Tuathain de Danan. She was tiefling that was mistaken for aasimar, so they called her "from tribe of gods" - Tuatha De Danan in Irish mythology.
Also names from pulp-era fantasy novels or source books for pulp-style fantasy rpg are good. Conan stories especially.
Or sometimes I just pick up names that sound simple and non-elegant- Keela, for example, was just a word that sounded simple.
Of course, I'm a non-english speaker- my native tongue is finnish- so many words and names sound different to my ear.