1. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    Writing terms/dialogue in a language you are unfamiliar with?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Morwen Edhelwen, Jun 18, 2012.

    How do you handle terms/dialogue in a language you are unfamiliar with? To be specific, Egyptian and Moroccan Arabic are used in something I'm working on. I'm using them to be culturally accurate to the fantasy setting.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Few of your readers will be able to read foreign language dialogue, so use it sparingly if at all.

    Foreign words and phrases are one of the few legitimate uses of italics in writing.

    In general, write dialogue in the same language as the narrative, even if the speaker is speaking in a different language. Indicate in the narrativbe that the person is speaking in a different language.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Few of your readers will be able to read foreign language dialogue, so use it sparingly if at all.

    Foreign words and phrases are one of the few legitimate uses of italics in writing.

    In general, write dialogue in the same language as the narrative, even if the speaker is speaking in a different language. Indicate in the narrativbe that the person is speaking in a different language.
     
  4. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    Yeah... but also, how do you handle writing words that have sounds which don't exist in English? And is it ok to refer to say, the days of the week in the foreign language?
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why?

    If there isn't an accepted transliteration to a Latin character set, why even try to put it in the story? How does it help tell the story better than either showing it in translated form or saying that someone said something the POV character didn't understand?
     
  6. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    But it's the POV character who's using those words in conversations with some of his people and his close friends. It's his native language. (I'm not going to write whole sentences, just a few words, and then the rest of it is in English)
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Then write the translation.
     
  8. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    thanks.
     

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