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It's listed as a male half-orc name in 5e PHB.

The question review process is telling me this question is "subjective and... likely to be closed", but the "similar question's list" turns up other pronunciation questions with upvotes and answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPGSE. 😊 I see that you are familiar with the stack format from a few other stacks. It may still be worth taking a look at tour, help center, How to Ask and How to Answer, but that's up to you. You've got enough rep to join us in Role-playing Games Chat so if you are ever in need of brainstorming to flesh out an idea, do drop in. There are usually some helpful folks hanging around there. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The question review process is telling me this question is "subjective and... likely to be closed"" - It's just because the post title includes "you". Relevant MSE post: What algorithm does Stack Exchange use to determine if a question may be subjective?. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 17 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just pretend the first 3 times anybody addresses the character as mispronounced, repeat your name slowly and again pretend mispronounciation. Character trait found that makes him immediately the fun one in the party :D \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17 at 21:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ An internal joke on my table is that half-orc and orc names are written completely different than what they are said - because "orcs can't read common". So, for our tables, a name that is written like "Mhurren" could very well be pronounced as "Bob" or "Edward" or "Bitey-face". \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Nov 18 at 11:30
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If it is assumed to have a Celtic/Gaelic origin, then it is pronounced "vurren" or "wurren".

Most of my examples would come from the names of Scottish mountains - e.g. Sgurr a' Mhaim, Sgurr Mhurlagain, Sgurr Mhic Coinnich, where the Mh is pronounced "v". (See here for spoken examples.)

In Irish gaelic is would be more of a "w" sound when occurring at the start of a word: "wurren" (e.g. see here.)

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The PHB tells us that the name comes the the FR novel Swordmage by Richard Baker.

The warchief Mhurren roused himself from his sleeping-furs and his women and pulled a short hauberk of heavy steel rings over his thick, well-muscled torso. He usually rose before most of his warriors, since he had a strong streak of human blood in him, and he found the daylight less bothersome than most of his tribe did...Richard Baker, Swordmage

Although this question is tagged 5e and the novel itself is 4e, that seems a good place to start.

Forsaken House, another FR novel by Baker, apparently includes a pronunciation guide in the back. I had thought Swordmage might have such a guide but commenter @MichaelW. says it does not. However, one could search the guide that does exist for similar letter combinations as a clue to how Mhurren might be pronounced.

Failing that, you might ask the same question on Science Fiction & Fantasy Stacks Exchange or ask the author himself.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I love that your answer points at a way to get a definitive pronunciation! (Another option would be to get the audiobook, I suppose.) But I feel like your answer would be better if it actually answered the question by providing a pronunciation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Nov 17 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with @DanB, without the actual answer here this is stuck in a strange limbo between being the best answer and not being an answer at all \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Nov 17 at 18:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanB Oh it certainly would be better if I answered the question, and if I could, I would. However, our stack doesn't require that an answer be better, best or even correct. Our standard is that an answer provides good and useful information. I believe my answer is useful, even if not correct or complete, and it is submitted in that spirit. If someone actually posts the correct answer, mine will no longer be useful and I will withdraw it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 17 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri See my comment directed at DanB \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 17 at 19:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ i wasnt sure which answer to accept, because on the one hand this is wonderfully detailed, but on the other hand, didn't give me anything particularly useful for naming my character at very short notice (which isnt your fault, i never said i was considering names for a next-day session). just leaving the comment because i ended up accepting an answer drawing analogy to real-world phonetics, but didn't want this answer to go unacknowledged for outlining a clear process. frankly, all the answers i got were very good in their own right, and any could have been accepted were it the lone answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Esther
    Nov 23 at 7:50
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Any way you want to!

The names provided in the PHB are examples meant to inspire players.

Some options:

  • Pretend the 'h' isn't there, so the first syllable starts with the same sound as 'murmur'.
  • Treat the 'm' as it's own syllable and insert a short neutral vowel between it and the 'h', so the name starts with a short 'muh', then 'hur'. This might also be written 'M'hurren'.
  • Treat the ‘mh’ as it is in Scots Gaelic, pronouncing it roughly like ‘vy’, so ‘vyur-ren’.
  • Use a voiceless 'm', which isn't a sound in English. Close your lips just as you would for a regular m, but don't vibrate your vocal chords. It will sound a bit like 'hm', with air hissing out of your nose for the 'h' part.

And however you pronounce the initial sound, you can vary stress ('MUR-ren' vs. 'mur-REN'), you can roll or tap the 'r' sound, and so on. Totally up to you.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer, but I'd definitely include the Gaelic option of being pronounced as "v". \$\endgroup\$ Nov 18 at 10:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Pretend the 'h' isn't there, so the first syllable starts with the same sound as 'murmur'." Or a long "u" sound, for something like "moo-ren". \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Nov 18 at 12:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FerventHippo Done! \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Nov 19 at 19:47
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In English, just like "Murren," similar to how "wear" and "where" are pronounced (in most dialects or accents) the same. Those accents which do sound the h place it before the w. There is a specific wh sound that governs this. There is not really a mh sound, and h-m isn't a normal phoneme, so acting like the h isn't there seems the best choice.

Then again, if you want to pronounce it m-hurren, go right ahead.

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In English the Mh letter combination occurs very rarely, but in loan words from Gaelic, such as the girl's name "Mhairi" (approximately /ˈvɛːri/). The Mh digraph indicates a /v/ sound.

Assuming this name is intended to represent an analogous borrowing, you may pronounce it as "Voorren" /ˈvuren/, with a short /u/ like a short form the sound in food, and rolledr "r".

Naturally pronunciation in the D&D world is up to you as the worldbuilder so "Murren" or M'Hurren isn't wrong. However when "mh" does occur in English writing as a digraph, it is usually "v".

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    \$\begingroup\$ However when "mh" does occur in English writing it is usually "v". Not really. When it occurs at the start of the word, you might be right, but far more often it appears at a morpheme boundary as in wormhole, farmhouse, etc. My list of nearly 700,000 English words has very few examples with v (even in the Gaelic Samhain, mh can apparently be w, from the Irish pronunciation) \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Nov 18 at 11:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I should say "as a digraph" You are right the most instances of "mh" are like farmhouse, But this isn't a digraph, but just two letters next to each other in a compound word. \$\endgroup\$
    – James K
    Nov 18 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's much clearer - and at the start your argument is quite likely to hold. M' appears at the beginning of some names from some African languages as well as akin to Mc; I reckon if M'Hurren was intended to be the pronunciation, it would also be the spelling \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Nov 18 at 21:49

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