Extended Pronunciation Guide

Pronunciations of Spanish words and names.

Unless otherwise noted, all names in Hammer of Witches should be pronounced using typical medieval Andalusian Spanish pronunciation, which not-so-coincidentally is the pronunciation typically used by most Spanish-speakers in the Americas:

    a = ah (as in “father”)
    e = eh (as in “they”)
    i = ee (as in “machine”)
    o = oh (as in “cone”)
    u = oo (as in “soon”)
    ay = ai (sounds like “eye”)
    oy = oy (as in “boy”)
    uy = ooee
    ue = weh (as in “bueno”)
    b = b, but sounds sort of like a v
    c = usually sounds like k. Exceptions:
    ce = seh
    ci = see
    g = is usually a hard g (as in “game”). Exceptions:
    ge = hey
    gi = hee
    gu = gw
    h = not pronounced
    j = h, with a little back of the throat ch sound
    ll = a sort of y/j sound
    ñ = ny (as in “nyah!”)
    qu = k
    r = slightly rolled r, sounds almost like an l
    rr = a more rolled r
    v = soft b
    y = when used as a consonant, similar to the ll sound
    z = s

If the word ends with a vowel, the stress is usually (but not always) on the second-to-last syllable. If the word ends with a consonant that is not -n or -s, the stress is usually on the last syllable.

Some examples:
    Baltasar Infante = bahl-tah-SAHR een-FAHN-teh
    Antonio de Cuellar = ahn-TOHN-ee-oh deh KWEH-yahr
    Cristóbal Colón = kree-STOH-bahl koh-LOHN
    Vicente Pinzón = bee-SEHN-teh peen-SOHN
    Serena = seh-REH-nah
    Diego = dee-EH-goh
    Joaquín = hwah-KEEN
    Fernando & Isabel = fer-NAHN-doh & ees-ah-BEL
    converso = kohn-BEHR-soh
    Alhambra = ahl-AHM-brah
    Gonzalo = gohn-SAH-loh
    Catalina = kah-tah-LEE-nah
    Niña = NEE-nyah
    Pinta = PEEN-tah
    Santa María = SAHN-tah mah-REE-ah
    maravedíes = mah-rah-beh-DEE-ehs
    Sara = SAH-rah

Ceceo, in which s sounds become th sounds, did not arise in Spain until the 16th century, so no “Baltathar,” readers.

Pronunciation of Taíno words and names.

As mentioned in the Author’s Note, the Taíno language was a spoken language, not a written one, so all spellings of Taíno words come from transcriptions by Spanish writers and should be pronounced using Spanish pronunciation. However, Granberry and Vescelius claim that the “gua” phoneme should be pronounced as “wah.” The letter x in Taíno words is pronounced like an s. Examples:

    Taíno = tah-EE-noh
    Jagua = HAH-gwah
    cacique = kah-SEE-keh
    Guacanagarí = wah-kah-nah-gah-REE
    cemíes = seh-MEE-ehs (some say cemís, which is pronounced seh-MEES)
    Anacaona = ah-nah-cah-OH-nah
    Caonabó = kah-oh-nah-BOH (I’ve also seen it spelled “Caonabo,” which would be pronounced kah-oh-NAH-boh)
    Marién = mah-ree-EHN
    Maguana = mah-WAH-nah
    huracán = oo-rah-KAHN
    Arabuko = ah-rah-BOO-koh
    Guabancex = wah-BAHN-sehs
    hamaca = AH-mah-kah
    Higuamota = ee-wah-MOH-tah
    Yucahú = yoo-kah-OO

Pronunciation of Arabic words and names.

“Jinniyah” is an English transliteration, not a Spanish one, because I wanted to make sure English-speaking readers pronounced it correctly. If I had used a Spanish spelling, confusion could arise, because Spanish doesn’t have a j sound like Arabic does. (Actually, in Arabic, the j sounds more like dzh.) My spelling was based on the English word “jinn,” which is pronounced the way it looks. Jinniyah pronounces her name dzhuh-NEE-yah and pronounces “Jinni” as DZHIH-nee. Baltasar pronounces the name as ʝee-NEE-yah (the ʝ standing for the y/j sound some Spanish-speakers use) and the nickname as ʝEE-nee. If he transliterated the name into Spanish, he might spell it “Yinilla” or even “Llinya.”

“Hameh” should be pronounced HAH-meh. (In Spanish it would be spelled “jame,” which many English-speaking readers would mispronounce.) Bahamut is bah-hah-MOOT (which, transliterated into Spanish, would be “Bajamut”). “Uqba” is the typical English spelling of an Arabic name, which, from what I understand, is more correctly pronounced AHK-bah.

Amir al-Katib is Castilian, so his name can be pronounced using either Spanish or Arabic pronunciation. The name is most often spoken by Baltasar, who being a Spanish-speaker pronounces it ah-MEER ahl kah-TEEB. In the Arabic of Al-Andalus, it would probably be AH-muhr ahl KAH-tuhb (but possibly oo-MEER, eh-MEER, or ah-MEER).

Pronunciation of words and names in other languages.

Want to pronounce Malleus Maleficarum in Latin? Well, you’re out of luck, because my Latin’s just as bad as my Arabic! But it’s probably mah-LAY-oos mah-leh-fee-KAH-room. Please don’t ask me how it would have been pronounced in medieval German. Maybe mah-LOYS mah-leh-fee-kah-ROOM.

“Titivillus” is also Latin, so “tee-tee-VEE-loos,” probably.

Being a Byzantine chap, Diego would have pronounced his name (David) the Greek way: thah-VEETH (the “th” being pronounced like the th in “this,” not the th in “thick”). When he moved to Castile, it became dah-BEED. Mizrahi is an Oriental Hebrew name pronounced meez-rah-CHEE, with the r slightly trilled and the “ch” sounding like a less-harsh version of the ch in “Chanukah."

And for the record.

Shana Mlawski = SHEY-nuh muh-LAU-skee. Unless you’re Polish, in which case MLAHV-skee, or you speak Yiddish, in which case SHAI-nuh.