1. johnmk

    johnmk New Member

    Dec 6, 2016
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    St helens

    Dialog between an english and non english person

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by johnmk, Dec 6, 2016.

    Hello, I am trying to write dialog between an English man and an African man whose English is not good, how do you do this without sounding insulting in some way. Would you write the African persons dialog in present tense all the time and simplify vocabulary, thanks for any advice.
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Aug 1, 2016
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    East devon/somerset border
    I think i'd say that his English is not good and perhaps use some odd constructions, or a scattering of swahili words to demonstrate that but predominantly write the exchange in standard English , as broken English will get tiresome for the reader if it goes on very long
  3. antlad

    antlad Banned

    Nov 28, 2016
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    If you have never heard it, go on youtube and get a feeling for what it sounds like. But, mostly, it will be similar to any trying to learn English, or any language. Where I live has always had a huge immigrant population and I have always interacted.
    When we learn language, we all have the same pattern for the most part. We learn by hearing, we listen more than speaking, we have fits and starts where we talk a lot then withdraw and apply corrections to other words.
    What makes it authentic to me is when the author has the non-english speaker use short sentences with words that are clipped, and 3 to 4 times more talking from the English speaker.
  4. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

    Apr 20, 2016
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    I've noticed that lots of times on-native speakers are more technically correct than native ones. When they learn a language, it's probably quite formal so they don't use slang, abbreviations, or complex structure. They will say only exactly what they mean and nothing else where native speakers tend to ramble and use slang.

    "I'm hungry."
    "Imma get some grub."

    Also maybe find some common phrases in their language and directly translate them. Ever notice how Arabic people always refer to you as "my friend" when no other Americans do so? It's because that's how they address each other in their language and they directly translate it.

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