I did not think too much of Richard K. Morgan’s fantasy novel The Cold Commands, but I do admire the care the author put into his naming systems for the trilogy. Each culture of his universe — Kiriath, Yhelteth, League, Majak — has its own naming conventions, and all are distinct from each other and in turn from English.
The Naom language is spoken in The League, a loose confederation of city-states of the north who have banded together for trade interests, opposing the decadent, Byzantine Yhelteth Empire in the south. Naom sounds like a stereotypical barbarian language — lots of ag, ush, ing, and grunting type syllables, like a language Conan and his ilk might speak. In fact, I believe the author, the sly bugger, intended it that way to evoke a Robert E. Howard mystique, which was both paid homage to and deconstructed. Naom also recalls the Orcish tongue used in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which the author references and criticizes here, but also pays homage to. (The above map also appears played off Middle Earth.)
If you’re looking to RPG in this world or write some fanfic, here’s a juicy list.
Random words of Naom (Land Fit for Heroes)
[…] time and space. Richard K. Morgan drew on the feel of this imaginary language when he designed the languages for his A Land Fit for Heroes series, as well as adopting some of Moorcock’s writing […]