1. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depression era slang

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by jonathan hernandez13, Jun 11, 2009.

    Im the resident retro freak, Ive been stuck on a retro phase for about eight months now ever since Fallout 3 came out.

    Some of my fiction takes place in an idealized golden age era in my mind, between 1900 to the end of the 1950's, but anything after that and approaching the sixties to me seems too modern:p

    Its kind of hard to find genuine bona fide retro talk thats doesnt sound terribly cliche or unimaginative. I try watching black and whites and listening to radio programs, but alot of their artform was very showmanlike and they seemed to avoid slang religiously (punk genre did not exist back then, apparently). The noir stuff gets pretty punkish and street, but again I cant tell where the thin line between actual period terms begin and some cliche art-imitating-life begins.

    Appreciate any of your inputs/insights and thank you all in advance.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    why don't you just study a variety of novels by the best authors who were writing in those eras [1900-1950 covers several, y'know]?... the dialog in them [all but the 'noir' type] will be pretty accurate...

    you can also find tapes of the radio shows everyone listened to, which will give you the slang and idioms of the day...
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To put a different spin on it, if doing as Maia suggests doesn't give a 100% accurate picture of the language of the time, including idioms and slang, then how would any but a very few of the eldest know?

    What any of us know of past language, apart from living memory, is from the records of the past. Except for the last century or so, that means writing from the time in question. It may not be completely accurate, due to social conventions of not putting certain elements of language in print.

    But it's the best approximation you, or anyone short of a time traveller, will be able to come up with.
     
  4. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I could always fake the funk too, heh heh...
    Ill take your advice guys, thnx;)
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ask mammamaia for first hand info. I'll bet she even won a jitterbug contest or two as a kid! LOL

    luv ya maia
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    :D LOL!
     
  7. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    awww, poor mama!

    (the thought did cross my mind though:D)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Maia's too young for that. She was just a baby at the tail end of the Depression.

    My mother is a few years older than Maia, and she was just a child when the Depression was levelling out.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm 70, for any who need to know... and i was a great dancer, but didn't believe in entering contests even back then...

    anyway, you can email me for info re slang in the 50s, when i was in jr high and high school [graduated hs in '56]... before that, i was in catholic school, where slang wasn't used much... if it was, i wouldn't have noticed, having been an outcast 'brain' with no friends except for another outcast i was told by the nuns it'd be a sin for me to play with, since she wasn't catholic...
     
  10. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    yeah, I went to Catholic school too, but they were alot less strict by then:)
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    holy cats, i just noticed where you're from, jonathan!... i went to st. barnabas, in yonkers, just up maclean ave from near where mt. vernon and the bronx connect, under the el... and my grandmother and assorted aunts/uncles/cousins lived in mr. vernon...

    i was actually born there, in mt vernon hospital...
     
  12. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh wow, small world!
    Yeah Im from the Bronx originally but Ive been living here since I was 14, except for when I was in the military:p

    cool!
     

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