1. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    Quick question

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LaGs, May 30, 2011.

    As diverse as the demographic of this website is, i just have one quick question.

    Would you, as a reader, be familiar with dialogue that is strongly Irish in nature? And by Irish, i don't mean the native language, but as in the regional dialect, the mannerisms, the ways of behaving etc?

    When I am writing my dialogue it is often this way, (As it is naturally what i know). But I worry a lot about it's readability to those not from Ireland, that some people may find it difficult to understand, even when in the written form. it's obviously not a universal way of speaking, but i am wondering what fellow members think
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    If you mean Irish like the way Irvine Welsh writes 'Scottish', then I think most people should be able to read it, if they try. But an example would probably help.
     
  3. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    Yea exactly, only the spelling altered to fit the pronunciation WITHIN the dialogue itself, and not in the whole prose, like in Welsh's books. (Welsh is one of my favourite writers btw)

    It's hard to give examples, but here goes,

    An American might say, "hey, what's up?" (or something to that effect)
    An Irish person from where i'm from would say, 'What's the craic the day?' (or something like that)

    Generally Irish people shorten their words giving a faster, quicker way of speaking. So, instead of saying "speaking", it would sound sound like "speakin'" if you know what i mean.

    What I want to know is, could a reader from the other side of the world visualise the way this conversation would flow and take place? it might be confusing, but then again, it could be easily deciphered.
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do it. I like the idea. Makes me think of the random slang in Stephen King's The Dark Tower. It didn't get explained. You just figured it out eventually.

    ... Or nadsat. :love: Nadsat.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't see any difference between that and the way Mark Twain wrote works like "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn". R.F. Delderfield had a keen ear for local usage, and used language as a means of differentiating the backgrounds of different characters.
     
  6. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I suppose I'm not a good judge for you being from the UK. I say fine, it's not so different. But as someone else also mentions Welsh's Trainspotting, I was detered from that because it was just so difficult. I am Scottish, born in Scotland, Raised there I know the accent - and yet it was just too differnet from normal english. It slowed the reading experience up. Saying that Trainspotting is a very popular and famous novel. Perhaps use the slang, but don't try to write everyword in Irish.
     
  7. Skinnyjeans
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    Skinnyjeans New Member

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    I think if it's done well you might notice it at first, but then it becomes secondary as you adjust to the tone...I can think immediately of a well known Irish chick-lit author who's used it very much to advantage!
     
  8. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I think as long as you're consistent things are picked up how they're used in context. I LOVE reading things like this.
     
  9. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I think I would be able to understand it -- techniques like that have been used in The Secret Garden or Gone with the Wind and I understood them perfectly. They even added to the story for me.
     
  10. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sweden here. I've seen enough American and British films with Irishmen in them to have a general idea of how the language sounds. If I knew the character was Irish, I'd automatically try to fit in odd spellings and contractions with the Irish dialect I imagine in my mind. I'd also automatically try to fit in mannerisms and behaviour with the stereotype of Irishmen I've got from films. As long as the words and pronounciations weren't too obscure, i think I'd be able to follow.

    Decoding oddities in language takes effort, though, so the more there are, the harder it is to read. If the reader has heard spoken Irish, I think they just need to be reminded every now and then that the characters have an Irish accent, and they'll imagine the dialogue that way. I don't think it's necessary to spell the words precisely as the characters pronounce them.

    Even Englishmen speak English differently than they spell it. For example, "pomps and circumstances" is often pronounced as "pomps'n'circumstances", and yet Englishmen keep writing out the silent "d" when they write dialogue. In Swedish there are entire syllables which are routinely ignored in everyday spoken language, and I think Germans do the same thing.
     
  11. dianableu
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    Personally, I hate it when things are spelled phonetically so that you can 'hear' the accent of the person who is speaking. It really irritates me. Especially if it continues throughout the entire book. But I don't think that is what you are talking about. Your talking about words and phrases. I think you can do it but you have to be careful. I don't like to read something that has so many words in it that I can't understand i that I have to pause constantly to try to figure out what it meant. It's distracting. I would say it's better to use some words in a context that people can figure out what they mean. Don't overwhelm the reader with it. And try to capture the rhythm, flow and cadence of the dialect. Personally, as an American, that's what I find so beautiful about the Irish dialect. If you have doubts as to whether or not you are doing it right....submit some and see what people say.
     
  12. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    I'm Irish, and I love Irish accents, even though I don't have one. But please please please don't overdo with the apostrophes in words and things like that because it looks too forced - JKR's Hagrid comes to mind, where it seems to obvious that she was trying to give him a distinct accent (even though his is West Country, it's still the same principle). Stick to slang words rather than chopping up syllables. I've often found that even simple changes like spelling you as yer are very effective.
     
  13. AvihooI
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    AvihooI Member

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    Israeli here (therefore a Hebrew speaker). I think it's a bit of a challenge to decipher English that's used by speakers who are not British or American. However we are well familiar with the Irish stereotype and mannerisms so in fact it is imperative in creative writing to maintain them. Hebrew is a very limited language in terms of geography so it doesn't have numerous native accents or dialects. Therefore any nuance that goes out of the norm would be signaled foreign. Irish English however has its place just like its counterparts.
     
  14. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    That's very true - we simplify dialogue when we write to make it easier to write - but as long as we know the characters are English and throw in a couple of 'irregularities' like slang words or a couple of choise expressions the reader usually gets the point.
     
  15. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    As long as it's still noticably English, people who speak English in all it's dialects should be able to understand it with little to no problems.
     
  16. Three
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    Three Member

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    I totaly agree. Slang and little stereotypical phrases can flavour a characters accent very powerfuly, and you don't even need to use them that much, so long as they pop up pretty quickly.
    "How are ya?" lends itself well to the hard-... sorry, hard-butt American. Adding ", mate" is immedietly Australian, and "bloody hell" is a dead givaway for an Englishman.
    For slang though, I think you'd just have to give more examples. As a Canadian, my closest experience with Irishmen(/women) was watching "The Commitments" (fookin' 'eel!), so I don't really have any idea what you're talking about. It might be easy to figure out, it might not. Try it out - let's see! :D
     

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