1. That Guy From That Place
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    That Guy From That Place New Member

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    Can you helping with the language?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by That Guy From That Place, Aug 2, 2008.

    I was wondering what was the best way to incorporate an accent in a story. I need help when it comes to portraying a good accent in a story without giving the reader a hard time.

    I know I can write in plain english and let the reader know that the character has an accent, but I wanted to know if there was a grammatical take on accents. Is it OK to add apostrophes to words that wouldn't need them on a southerner? Are gonna and wanna OK to use on a new-yorker? What about chopping of a's and the's to give that boxer a Russian flare?

    Are things like this OK, or do they just keep the reader from getting to the next line?
     
  2. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's nothing wrong with accents as long as you know how to use them. Russian, as you mentioned, has no articles of its own, so when russians learn english, the can tend to drop a/an/the. But they replce it with word order, because that is what Russians use in place of articles(sort of).

    So as long as you know why an accent is a certain way, and can back up your use of certain structures and phrases, it shouldn't really be an issue.

    "gonna/wanna" is more than just new york, and no, I wouldn't think that would be an issue.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "adding apostrpahes"...






    Noted, these are examples, but the same basic rules apply to each. If you use them, do so properly.
     
  3. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    "Well I reckon dat you are just gonna hafta figger dat one out on yer own"

    Yes, all that you want to do is acceptable when you cite speech.
     
  4. That Guy From That Place
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    That Guy From That Place New Member

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    I meant like runnin' instead of running and talkin' instead of-- (well you see where this is headed)

    But thanks for the insight... Reading the topic tittle, I realized I didn't mention loose conjugation. Like adding -ing's or -ed's when unnecessary (is that hurtful or stylistic?)
     
  5. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    If that is the way they speak then that is how you write them.

    "Droppin', addin' and all dat der stuffs dat dose peoples done doid, den dat right der is wut you write"
     
  6. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, I see, your original wording was confusing for the apostraphes things.

    As to unecessary endings... I suppose it's okay, depending on which L1 language the character speaks. That is the reason research is so necessary.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Be careful about trying to convey accents. A little goes a long way. Beyong that, it merely becomes tedious for the reader to wade through it.

    Dialect, meaning regional word choices, is another matter. But with that, make sure you understand the dialect very well - well enough to distinguish local variations, like the differencesw between Mississipi and Texas dialects.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Not to be a fuss-bucket, but Russian uses case endings (suffixes) to mark grammar in a sentence. Word order is actually quite loose because of this. The articles a,an, & the are definitely absent, but there are other words which act as articles which are used and are rather important due to the lack of capacity to represent the indefinite and definite states of a noun in a sentence.

    In Russian, there is no grammatical way to distinguish between the following.

    Give me a piece of paper.
    Give me the piece of paper.

    In the second sentence, the definite article relates to the listener that the piece of paper in question has already been mentioned, or somehow stands apart from just a random piece of paper. In Russian, the two sentences are exactly the same so the article-like words this & that (это, ehto & то, ) are used with frequency in order to clarify specific items from random ones. But they are only employed if there is confusion and a clarification is required.

    Ok, I'm done now. :p
     
  9. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like I said, "sort of". I don't speak fluent russian, so my structural knowledge is bound to be a bit rusty at times. There's nothing "fuss-buckety" about a clarification or "correction".
     
  10. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I think it's usually best to just give readers a small taste of the accent. In other words, use the occasional accented word just to get the idea across, but I would never use it every time, as it makes the reader slow and stumble over the lines.
     

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