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Naming Your Countries, Cities and Places

Naming Your Countries, Cities and Places

Storyteller OS users: Clip this video into your Knowledge Base and categorize it under Setting + World Building

When creating names for your places in your world you need to think about three main foundations: place, people and history. This video gives you an amazing analysis about how you can come up with names through these foundations and how to evolve them through historical changes, power handoffs, and linguistic groups that move through these places.


  • Base the name of your places on these three foundations: place, people, and history, but take them through a change in either language evolution, simplification, conflation, or elaboration
  • Language Evolution - the dominant language in the region changes
  • Simplification - removing extra modifying words
  • Conflation - similar sounds or words becoming conflated, bleeding into use with one another
  • Elaboration - adding modifiers to distinguish places from others with similar names
  • Names aren't just about the place, history or people, but also who gets to choose the name or place is about who holds power there. (Think Constantinople → Istanbul)
  • Endonyms - names bestowed on a place by those who live there
  • Exonyms - names bestowed on a place by those outside of it. (Scotland named by the Romans)
  • Consider mapping out where ethno-linguistic groups have moved in your world historically and which linguistic traits they would leave behind.