Stan: I think we're not on the same page here. There is no "Book of Names" in Pale Fire. After Kinbote confirms the meaning of kinbote (king's destroyer) Shade says that CK is the author of "a remarkable book on surnames," of which there is an English translation. The clear (at least to me) implication here is that CK's book is a scholarly (Oxford UP!) work that examines the etymologies and origins of family names. VN probably had something like Baring-Gould's "Family Names and Their Story" in mind, since that is where he himself gleaned the names and/or backstories for names like Lavender, Bretwit(z), Fyler, Campbell/Beauchamp, Lukin, and Shalksbore/Shakespeare. I have that book in front of me, so I can furnish another example or two:
Crick (A.S. cric), a creek; not usual as a suffix but found as Creech, Evercreech, Cricklade.
Now, since the whole connection between Crick and creek is based on the sound of the word, how would one translate that into another language and still have it make sense? I suppose you could leave "creek" there, then give the translation? Tedious! Or how about this one:
Dale (O.N. dalr), Swaledale, Nithsdale, Borowdale. But Dalton does not signify the tun in the dale, but the tun divided in two by a brook. In one of the Robin Hood ballads we have: "By the faith of my body," then said the young man, / "My name is Allen a Dale." Dale is often "dall"; Tindall stands for Tyne-dale. Udall is the yew-dale. Sometimes Dale is corrupted into "dow" or "daw," as Lindow or Lindaw.
All kinds of problems arise here. What do you do with tun? What about the dale, small d? And if yew is "tas" in your language, will it make sense that it comes from Udall?
The whole project seems sufficiently unlikely to me. So much so that it makes for a good joke that we may miss if we too blithely throw up our hands and say anything is possible.
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