Survey: how do you create your place names?

Posted by MisterBean on 6 May 2020 in English (English)

I would like you to describe how you create place names, be it towns, mountains, rivers or natural features. Do you invent them as nice-sounding words fitting your language, rigorously etymologically derive them or use a random word generator? What effect does the language of your country have on the place names? Do you have a dictionary for the most important toponyms or at least know these components by heart?

I use a mixed etymological-aesthetical approach when creating place names. I know the most important Germanic, Slavic and Finno-Uguric toponymic roots and use them, but I also sometimes just make up interesting or funny-sounding names from scratch, reflecting the fact that many modern place names in the real world can not be etymologically traced anymore.

Comment from CharlieG on 6 May 2020 at 15:04

For South Ascot, I use the Holmic language's rules for creating names and pre-made ones created by sude. These are borrowed from Spanish/Portuguese and North African dialects. As for Gobrassanya and other Ingerish/English-based names, I like to smash two or more words together or simply think of last names and cities I know of and base a new name off of that. (What a lot of people do in FSA). In Gobrassanya specifically, I sometimes take inspiration from local Gobrasi dialect, whereas many double-vowels and consonants followed by h's make their way into words. Who else uses a conlang or makes up words?

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Comment from Rhiney boi on 6 May 2020 at 15:18

For Wahauja so far I'm just using Spanish names, or taking last names and adding like 'Fort' or 'City' somewhere on it. However I only have 3 city names in Wahuaja, so I do need to add a ton more. I might use some common english and spanish place names, and there's something Rustem did for places in Tierra Alta that I might just steal; he stole some phrases in songs and transformed them into place names, which I may just do for Wahauja.

For city names derivative of people's names, I use's generator to make people names.

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Comment from iiEarth on 6 May 2020 at 15:40

I usually think up of names by myself. No, not random words jumbled together, but actual words if I'm mapping in English. If I'm mapping in any other language I would try to find a pleasant-sounding word, and, if I cannot find such a word for a long time, I would instead make a corruption.

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Comment from whateversusan on 6 May 2020 at 17:35

For Suya Ahn's conlangs, I developed dictionaries with basic topographical and descriptive terms that I could use to create place names. I also developed some basic rules for each language so that there is internal consistency for each language.

For Culpepper in the FSA, I base my names off of New England towns, as my state is inspired loosely by the American northeast. I have used a Mohegan dictionary (the Mohegans are indigenous to the part of New England where I live) to develop place names derived from a First Nations analogue in this part of the FSA. I try to be really careful with these and use them sparingly.

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Comment from kingfries on 6 May 2020 at 20:02

Currently only boring English placenames. For exampe in the area which I'm focusing on right now its generic names (Green Rock Bay), thought up but still clearly reasonable (Seagull Spotting or Prosper Bay), something that could be called discovery naming (Friday Morning Rocks), Geographic/Topographic describing whats it like there (Twenty Knot Shore) and typical colonial names derived from people like Explorers and Royalty (Coronation Harbour/ Mount so-and-so). If you want to diver deeper to micromanaging the same really applies to streetnames actually, aside from the occasional time where I throw some random foreign spice in there. So in Short: Standard boring english, but trying to avoid a direct copy like having multiple e.g. Londons ( Winburgh in OGF) or New Whatever City or Kingstown/Queenstown

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Comment from SwissCrusader on 7 May 2020 at 00:00

Self-made auto name generators in PHP running on a localhost web server, with a few exceptions having hidden real-world references. If you have used AutoREALM in the 2000's, maybe you 'member the AutoNAME plugin and its *.rul files. I made something that works the same, it generates a bunch of names and if one of those names sounds glorious, I put it on the map.

Älvedic Confederacy: it's a confederacy of 2 colonies quite isolated from their language areas (other Mergan and Franquese countries), so I thought one should expect particular dialects here. So names in eastern half use standard syllables of Savoy or French Switzerland, names in western half use very customized Germanic/Anglo-saxon/Alpine syllables. Alvedic is the only language for which I developed meaningful names and language rules, all the others down below use randomly generated placeholders.

Brevinfeld: a flat steppe geographically linked with Karolia, so an Uralic-type language fits in. Names are totally random placeholders using Hungarian alphabet. I might improve them later.

Vyzh-Ulz: the "natives" with semi-nomadic features who migrated from the far north, so a broad mix of Altaic-Uralic is used here.

Bois-Unis: a landlocked country stuck between Ingerish Neberly and the Franquese patois of East Alved, so for that purpose I use some kind of Anglo-Normand syllables, which sound neither French nor English. I even had an attempt to put Slavic influences near the borders of Latania and Karamsk, but those countries are no-longer active so it's on hold.

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Comment from stjur on 7 May 2020 at 00:58

I usually name things on the map after whatever pops into my head that very moment (or after what a place reminds me of), especially when adding the by now 3000 villages in my country (in Romanian you can name a village after literally anything and anyhow you want). About 99.5% of my place names are referencing something in the real world or something in my life. In-OGF etymologies for these names are being invented/found afterwards (I've been struggling for years to find a plausible OGF etymology for my capital city's name and for my country I still don't have one)

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Comment from zhenkang on 7 May 2020 at 03:06

Kuehongese names are taken from a variety of sources. Usually, my approach is to take some Chinese names and feed them in a chu nom converter:

  • The Chinese name of Vang Ngat, 邦咯, is actually the Chinese name of a Malaysian island Pulau Pangkor. The state capital, O-man (乌敏), is taken from another Singapore island Pulau Ubin. Many of the town names in Vang Ngat are Chinese translations of some places in Singapore, with the translations then fed into the converter

  • In fact, I also used this same method for many other places which makes some reference to real-world places, like Can Lai and Cam Mai (Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai), which are both border cities of Thailand.

  • Other places are also some random Chinese names I took from Chinese textbooks, model essays etc

  • I also kind of did the inverse, also researching on some Vietnamese province names and a Vietnamese name generator, then fed into the convertor. I will sometimes follow up with variants, like same characters with different pronunciations, same/similar pronunciations with different characters etc


  • 刘然 Lưu Nhơn 刘然 Lưu Nhiên 留仁 Lưu Nhơn 留仁 Lưu Nhân
  • 冥清 Minh Thanh 盟青 Minh Thanh 盟清 Minh Thanh 盟清 Minh Thảnh
  • 韩静 Hàn Tĩnh 旱浄 Hạn Tĩnh 旱醒 Khan Tỉnh

I keep such a list here:, which also have translations of roads and other features...

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Comment from Geoc3ladus on 7 May 2020 at 20:26

Try Mithril and Mages!

You can choose a variety of names for any culture. I found this to be very useful when naming towns and cities when you are out of town names. Hope you find this helpful.

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Comment from Lorenzo49 on 8 May 2020 at 03:44

For my place's names i take some names of the neighbourhoods of my city and i make some kind of invented words based on real words, like Juarenas, a invented word based on Juarez, or Poblania based on Puebla

On my best made city, Antigua Kovania City, if i don't know how to name some neighbourhood, i put a number to the neighborhoods according to their age (For example, some neighbourhood in this city was going to be named Aztequistan, but being a bit real-life similar name, and having no more ideas, i decided to name it as "Desarrollo Urbano 41", because is the 41st oldest neighbourhood of Antigua Kovania City)

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