1. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    General rules on accent in dialogue?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Maverick_nc, Apr 17, 2019.

    Hi all,
    In my current piece I have a sweet Irish lady as a side character, and most of her scene is dialogue based. I want her to sound Irish, but without overdoing it and turning her into a caricature. Most advice seems to be to avoid adding any regional dialect but is a little acceptable?

    Cheers
    NC
     
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  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say add dialect but not accents. If you must do accents, sprinkle sparingly, a little goes a long, long way.
     
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  3. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Many thanks for replying. I will play it safe for the time being and perhaps add more seasoning later, once I've tasted the whole dish.
     
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  4. talltale

    talltale Member

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    You've probably seen this list already, but I agree with the idea of not using accents and to sprinkle in sayings:

     
  5. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    I hadn't seen this post, very very useful - thank you for posting.
     
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  6. marshipan

    marshipan Active Member

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    Dang, that is super useful! I've got some Irish characters myself and honestly didn't even think they might word things differently. Which is silly of me, I write southern/country accents a lot by doing comparable things.
     
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  7. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    This is a fantastic post! Thank you!
     
  8. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    Wow, this is great reference! I have an Irish inspired character in my fantasy novel so this is going to be so useful! Copy...Paste...
     
  9. Rzero

    Rzero Active Member

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    Writing in the correct cadence is always a big part of putting an accent into the reader's head, and there's no better way to pick it up than to hear it, as obvious as that advice sounds. Do you watch a lot of movies? If I'm using an Irish accent, I think Collin Ferrell, Liam Neeson or Gabriel Byrne. Unfortunately, there aren't as many Irish actresses I've seen enough of to easily conjure in my mind's ear, but it might be worth a viewing of Angela's Ashes just to get in the mindset. I can't speak to accuracy in that one though, considering the number of English and Scottish actors playing Irish in that film. The book might be a bigger help there, because we're talking about an actual Irish author retelling the story of his actual Irish family.

    @flawed personality, any suggestions on books or films full of accurate, obviously Irish dialogue, particularly any involving a "sweet Irish lady"? :)
     
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  10. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Senior Member

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    In terms of reading, I might have a few suggestions:
    Authors: Roddy Doyle, Edna Obrian, Claire Keegan, Nuala ni Dhomhnaill, Seamus Heaney.
    My Irish Literature class was the first time I had been exposed to Irish authors and something I notice was that they read differently than English authors/poets. They had a different "sound" to them (hat was something we ended up discussing in the class). There were more authors and poets we read, but I dont remember them off the top of my head.

    I really liked "Once" (though my professor played it with subtitles because the accent was so thick)
    And I love anything with Cillian Murphy in it. Disco Pigs was the first movie I saw with him in it. It was creepy. I liked it lol.
     
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  11. flawed personality

    flawed personality Nomad Contributor

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    Not being Irish myself, I'm not much help unfortunately. I don't have TV here, and to my knowledge the only true Irish film I have ever watched was The Guard, but there weren't any sweet Irish ladies in that, IIRC.

    The post from @talltale covers quite a lot to be honest. Some things I hadn't even noticed before.
     
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  12. marshipan

    marshipan Active Member

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    I've read Roddy Doyle. He is known for going full Irish accent and slang. I haven't read him in a decade and I still say "Jaysus" instead of Jesus--hah. I think he's one of those cases where he breaks the standard rules and it works because he's exceptionally talented and an icon of sorts. I wouldn't personally try to emulate him (I couldn't) but he's definitely a good read and it could be helpful for discovering how you would do the accent in writing.
     
  13. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Active Member

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    That was great! I wonder whether people of other national origins would be willing to answer fellow writers' questions. Start a thread, maybe?
    Unless, someone already has.
    I've been absent a while.
     
  14. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Senior Member

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    there is a thread floating around about how certain things are said in other places. likes "crisp" in the UK and "potato chip" in the US. Its pretty cool. I'd link it, but I have to find it
     
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  15. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    This is a really good way to approach it. Like the other posters, I find indicating the accent by cadence and word choice much more effective. I posted this example some time ago in another thread, but it was so long ago, it bears repeating:

    For a great example of what not to do, read Gelsey Kirkland's memoir, Dancing on My Grave, in which she wrote every Russian accent phonetically. It had the effect of making even the most brilliant people look childish, dumb and uneducated...So much so, it was believed to be an intentional shot at her former lover, Mikhail Baryshnikov (who's extremely well-read) to make him look stupid.

    An example of what not to do, Gelsey Kirkland style, would be:

    (Mikhail Baryshnikov speaking) "Geelsey, vaht you vant? I reeeeally like you! Come on, Geels...Why you doing this?"

    She didn't have to go to those lengths. We know Baryshnikov is Russian. It was firmly established from the moment he was mentioned, and at the time the book came out he was the most famous dancer in the world and had done many television interviews. So whatever she wrote, we'd have heard it in his Russian accent. Context is everything.

    You can learn cadence and phrases by watching YouTube videos of real people from the character's region of the world. You'll also notice whether or not they use contractions, regional slang, etc. .
     
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  16. jannert

    jannert Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's got to be the best thing I've read all day! :)

    One bit of caution. When studying an Irish accent, be aware that Liam Neeson is from Northern Ireland. That accent is very different from the Republic of Ireland accent.

    If you want to have a lot of fun getting familiar with an Irish accent at work, you could be doing worse than getting hold of some episodes of Father Ted. Hilarious stuff throughout, but the accents are authentic. The first series is the best.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  17. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    If any of you want to know anything about Finland or Finnish language, I'll be happy to help.

    (I can't help with pronunciation. I can't explain it.)
     
  18. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    Someone should compose a resource with some dialogues like this. We need to start s thread like this or use this one to get all we know about regional dialects or accents
     
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  19. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    I have been doing a lot of research into languages for my WIP and would love a resource like this.
     

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