1. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Army slang

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Kita, Aug 9, 2013.

    I'm considering writing a short story with a squad of British Army soldiers as the protagonists and since I have a great love of the military myself, I'm pretty good with Army slang. Is it a good idea to use it in dialogue? Or would it just annoy people who aren't as fluent in it?
     
  2. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    I don't see a problem with it. You might consider subtly defining a few of the more obscure terms, but using slang in general tends to immerse readers into your setting instead of divorcing them from it. The only caution flag I'll throw out there is that in general militaries use plenty of colorful language, which could turn off a few readers.
     
  3. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Thanks and that's true. I'll try to cut back on the swearing in it.
     
  4. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Use slang that can be looked up on the internet or in a dictionary. A lot of military slang can easily be looked up. It's a reader's obligation to define words they don't know.
     
  5. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Can you give some examples? I wouldn't mind learning more army slang since you're good with it.

    I think you can introduce the slang lightly at first. Once the reader's more familiar with it, you can lay it on thicker.
     
  6. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    A common one with the British Army is "Slot" which means shoot/kill
    "Slot the (Insert swear/insult of your choice"
    Goat-Taliban
    Hodjie-Taliban
    Nigs-The soldiers who sit in the guard huts
    Naafi-Pub
     
  7. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Interesting, never knew about those.

    I can see how it can get confusing. I don't think it would hurt the pacing of the story if you explained what the terms meant, nor would it be holding the hand of the reader. Unless the meaning is already clear by the context of the dialogue, a quick explanation through narrative would be welcomed by the reader as he would be able to understand future references to it.

    I guess that's what I meant by lightly introducing the terms, obviously you don't want to info dump what five slang terms mean in the first paragraph.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I hung out for an evening once on a British merchant marine ship. They spoke almost entirely in slang. It's my understanding the Brits are somewhat famous for it and judging by some of the jokes I don't get on BBC TV sitcoms, I'd think slang was an important component in realistic British soldier's dialogue. Just don't use so much your readers don't have a clue what the characters are saying.
     
  9. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Yeah, we're pretty good at slang, especially the Military. Squaddie is another one rather than soldier. Would a glossary at the end/beginning be appropriate?
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think a gentle contextual nudge trumps a glossary any time. ;)
     
  11. Terok
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    Terok Member

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    I would say that say that as long as you can use the slang in a context that makes sense, like using your example: “Slot the ******” then someone shoots someone. People are going to work out what it means.

    This is a point that I would disagree with the most, I find it annoying when people don’t swear like they would in real life. There is nothing more immersion braking than a construction worker saying “Oh damn”, when he hits himself with a hammer.
     
  12. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    That's a really good point, I might reconsider cutting back on it.
     
  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say use it as much as feels natural. Context and google help to decipher the meaning, no need to chew everything for the reader. I for one would love to read a story with authentic army slang.
     
  14. paulthompson
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    paulthompson Member

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    "Sniper One" is a great read by SGT Dan Mills. I had very limited knowledge of armed forces terms, but by the end of the book I felt like I had been out to Iraq and back! Might be worth a read to see if you can pick anything up :)

    You could put a index, cut it down to the bare minimum or let the reader guess :p If it's in context it will most likely come into place for the reader!
     

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