1. Lorraine
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    Lorraine New Member

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    Dialect and dialogue.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Lorraine, Jul 25, 2011.

    When is it best to use dialect? I am a Geordie and would really like to utilise my regional dialect, colloquialism in both the main body of my text (descriptions) and in the dialogue.

    But how much is too much?
    Would this alienate the reader?

    Irvine welsh - Trainspotting and Roddy Doyle - The Commitments, have been successful in using their native language in their works.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Colloquialisms are fine, imo. Actually trying to write out a dialect phonetically almost always creates a mess. At least when I've seen it done. So I'd avoid the latter, except maybe a smattering of words sparsely provided throughout the dialogue.
     
  3. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would only use it for dialogue, and even then I would let someone who doesn't have the same dialect read some of the story to see if they understand it. And of course, if they like reading it like that. But that said, it can be a nice touch if it's done well. :)
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    There are lots of books about, set in, and by people from Newcastle using the vernacular. What's stopping you?
     
  5. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Use the dialect only where the meaning of the word is easily understood or obvious. As long as the meaning of the sentence is not compromised, dialect is fine to use. Also, be sure to be consistent in the spelling of words.

    As long as you have minimal use of the dialect and you do not flood them with apostrophes, umlauts, or alien characters, you work should not alienate your readers too much.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do you mean dialect, or do you mean phonetic repesentation of accents?

    Dialect is word choices that distinguish a country, region, subculture, or even an individual. Use dialect freely.

    Phonetic accents, on the other hand, are to reading as six inches of slimy muck are to a brisk walk. You can probably get away with it in small doses, but it quickly becomes irritating.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Given the references to Irvine Welsh and Trainspotting, I assumed she was talking about phonetic spelling of accents.

    Looks like my definition of dialect was wrong.

    I'd also use phonetic spellings sparingly. A little bit will give the reader the proper "voice" in his mind. I realize a work like Trainspotting has a lot of phonetic spelling, but as a rule it leads to a mess, imo.
     
  8. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    A nicely caught distinction by Cogito: both infuriate me. I find parts of Doyle and Welsh (and Dickens) unreadable, frankly. From where I stand, less is absolutely more, pet.;)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto on the 'less is more'!
     
  10. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Go for it.

    A Clockwork Orange is a good example because the idiolect was fictional, so anyone reading the book had no comprehensive prior understanding, unlike with Geordie. People will pick it up after a few pages, don't worry about people not understanding.
     
  11. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Go for it.

    A Clockwork Orange is a good example because the idiolect was fictional, so anyone reading the book had no comprehensive prior understanding, unlike with Geordie. People will pick it up after a few pages, don't worry about people not understanding.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You do know Geordie is more of an accent. Right?
     
  13. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Yes.

    A Clockwork Orange was a first person narrative, spoken by a narrator with an idiolect, as the colloquialisms were much more particular to that person in his social group than a region as a whole.

    Geordie is actually more of a dialect, as it contains words and idioms that are specific to that region, which cross-over many social groups. Basically they have what is called an isogloss.

    You shouldn't get dialects and accents confused, as the later usually comes under the former.

    What I was saying in my OP was that the colloquialisms found in a Clockwork Orange belonged to an idiolect- I didn't refer to Geordie being an idiolect- because both have problems when it comes to other people trying to understand what is being said.
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I fail to agree. But whatever.
     
  15. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    I'm afraid that Tyneside is a dialect, not just an accent:

    "Anyone who speaks say, a Tyneside dialect of English will sometimes use different words from speakers of other dialects... They may also use different grammatical structures... In other words, dialect features can be described in terms of vocabulary, grammar and accent..."

    p.189 of Changing English by David Graddol, Dick Leith, Joan Swann, Martin Rhys abd Julia Gillen. Published 1996.

    Caught me in the middle of my holiday revision.
     
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Sometimes. But that's just me being picky.

    I'm not interested enough to really argue this either way though, I've not had much sleep lately and I'm a little frazzled.
     
  17. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    In all due respect I think Graddol et al have more say on that matter, I think only some kind of extremely avant-garde linguist would contest the existence of dialects.

    I've just finished a 55 hour week so I know how you feel, but this is a discussion forum, not a casual opinion forum. Again, with all due respect, Lemex.
     
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  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Thanks for trying to be polite, but looking back over these comments I can tell I've been a fool. Sorry for wasting your time.
     
  19. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Hey, it's a discussion forum, it's what I come here for, thanks for the discussion! :)
     
  20. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    IDK, persoanly I enjoy a good "Voice" unique to the charater, I however have been told that it is tiresome amungst other things... But I also like dialogue written in other languages. Because to me that is real, and the realisim is what I enjoy. Some people however detest it...

    I myself have been playing around with this and hope to eventualy uncover the right "mix".
    Best of luck in what ever you decide.
     

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