1. carosene
    Offline

    carosene New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    African Accents?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by carosene, Mar 9, 2008.

    A character in a novella thingy of mine is an African, and I just realized that means he probably doesn't speak how I usually write. :rolleyes:

    I haven't quite decided where in Africa he's from yet, (It's not South Africa, though. Probably from one of the many poorer areas :() but does anyone know of any recourses I could use to learn a little more about speaking mannerisms native to Africa, or anything you've learned from experience?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    If you don't know an accent or regional speech pattern very well, don't even try to simulate it in writing. Even if you do, putting it into writing is tricky, and you're nearly always better off understating it.
     
  3. Beth
    Offline

    Beth Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Italy
    You could try look up on Youtube. There may be Video News Releases where people from Africa are speaking. Africa is always in the spotlight, so you might be able to find something to help you.
     
  4. Crazy Ivan
    Offline

    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,295
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    The dumpster behind your McDonalds.
    This site...
    http://accent.gmu.edu/
    ...has lots of accents from a bunch of different regions worldwide. Maybe it'll help.
     
  5. Bluemouth
    Offline

    Bluemouth Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Messages:
    976
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    One of the best, and most interesting, sites I've ever looked at.

    Thanks for the link, CI.
     
  6. Daniel
    Offline

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    402
    Location:
    Peoria, Illinois
    Accents would be hard to do... maybe use local slang or regional terms?
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i'd listen to cog's sage advice on this, if i were you... it's a recipe for disaster to try to write characters from a world/background you've no knowledge or experience of... i'd say your chances of pulling it off successfully would run from nil to none...

    but if you have to try, do a test piece and then post it on a site where people from that country hang out and brace yourself for the feedback...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  8. SnipSnap
    Offline

    SnipSnap Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Clinton, Illinois
    A good african to base it off of is Jim from the Adventures of Huck Finn, but of course that may not be what you're looking for.
     
  9. soujiroseta
    Offline

    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Harare, Zimbabwe
    maybe i could help. i live in africa but am currently overseas for college.
     
  10. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it's nice of you to offer, but africa's a huge place... and folks in north africa might as well be on another continent, when it comes to having anything at all in common with subsaharan africa...

    carosene... the first thing you have to do is decide where in africa this person is supposed to be from... there are great differences, you know... for instance, algerians are africans, but are nothing at all like nigerians... and egypt is part of africa, but the people there are nothing like those in rwanda... and so on... so, 'african' is not just one thing, and all africans won't speak the same way... even in any single country, you can find many different speech patterns...
     
  11. Leaka
    Offline

    Leaka Creative Mettle

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Messages:
    5,825
    Likes Received:
    36
    Accents are difficult.
    A lot of my characters I try to portray are British. But I am Greek...lol!
    Personally, I think all you need to do is research a little. Watch a little African television. Get a feel on what kind of African you want. Then write.
    I think it makes a lot more sense if you research it first before you write it.
     
  12. soujiroseta
    Offline

    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Harare, Zimbabwe
    i am aware of the fact that southern and western are totally different but it all depends on where your character is from. if you can do that im sure you will be able to find what youre looking for:)
     
  13. Edward
    Offline

    Edward Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Virginia
    I'd say going out of your way to show the phonetics of an accent would be a little annoying. Or at least, a heavy one. Changing a few things, like for instance how Germans pronounce W as V. but if you change every word to be phonetic, it gets a bit annoying to read. Not to mention difficult.

    I'd go with describing the accent as a whole instead of transcribing it.


    Also Ivan, your bookmarks never cease to amaze me.
     

Share This Page