1. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    Not Over-doing It

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AxleMAshcraft, Feb 17, 2011.

    I'm writing first person of a English boy in late 1800s/early 1900s and am part of a local writers work-shop. They told me, to make my point come across more, I should try to write with a "British Accent". He is a street fighter, so his vocabulary would be a mix between educated and slang. I was hoping you guys could give me some pointers of how to write with a British accent, some terms a teen his age (18) might use in this time period ect.
    Also, I don't want to make it over bearing, so much so that you can't read it. I have read some books like this before and get lost in the dialogue.

    Part 2: My English lad is in Ireland, so what are some pointers to writing with a "Irish accent" that, again, isn't so thick that others won't be able to read it.

    Also: Do you guys enjoy it when books do this or are written this way? Right now, my short story is in "normal" English, and I'm still on the fence about changing it.

    Hoping you guys would help.
     
  2. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    That's tough. For me, I'd really have to spend some time across the pond. Reading books with the accents wouldn't be enough.
     
  3. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    Well mate, in order to write in a British accent you'd have to take into account where the boy is from in England. If he's in Ireland, research the language, slang that is used there. And the background of the people of the area in Ireland.

    Research is the key. Considering there are many types of British accents. You've got the posh London, the "Cockney" London. The Liverpudlian accent also called "Scouse", then there's the Southern accent, the Northern accent, the Mancunian accent. Assuming that you're not from the UK I might suggest watching some videos on Youtube of British television.

    That may give you some idea of what they talk like in certain parts. I'm from England originally. But I've lived in Canada for quite some time now so I'm not really that familiar anymore.

    Hope I helped.
     
  4. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Try to obtain some scripts for the popular theatre or novels from the period. You'll never get the vocabulary right if you don't. English slang has changed considerably in the last 100 years.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I am writing this in a British Accent :) - my pronunciation is RP (recieved pronunciation) but my main dialects are Scots/Scouse. As others have said where does he come from ? What sort of slang do you want ? I probably have remnants of his time period in my current vocab - I grew up amongst old Liverpool Irish folk. (born around 1904-7)

    However not sure where the educated bit is coming from ?

    -Charlotte
     
  6. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely don't go overboard, especially if you haven't researched them...

    I would second the suggestion made above - read some good literature that is set in the era, whether written then or more recently.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you can't do it believably, DON'T!

    and don't write 'accents' anyway... just use the syntax, idioms and vocabulary of the various characters' place of origin and don't annoy the reader with phonetic spellings...
     
  8. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    BACKGROUND! (I always forget this in the first post.)

    Popular Questions. (Move-over answers to such)
    He was born in London, his father was in and out of money because he tended to use his money for pointless things that never worked out. (Examples from book: Financially supported lazy painter, book store that no one bought books from and a pack of circus freaks). So my MC (Travis) went to school until he was fifteen when he started street fighting behind his dad's back (and dropped any sort of school, this might not fit into the time period but it's not really mentioned in my short story). Dad dies, Trav is sent to Ireland in search of distant family.
    So Trav's accent...maybe that awkward time between a full on (I think it would be Cockney) accent and his (more educated) roots in schools...?

    Someone said not so much accents but idioms, I'm going to need examples, even things I can't use, or websites, I have time to do some research. Which novels or manuscripts could I read that would help with that? Preferably online...?
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    For the Irish - suggest a kids show called Jakers, Frank McCourt, My Left Foot

    Cockney - Pygmalion, I was going to suggest BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright for the Old Woman but don't remember her being on lately hmm now should we be concerned? the show is good might be worth listening anyway. Type Barbara Windsor into Youtube. Dot Cotton is another one. They are old enough to give a flavour.
     

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