1. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    271
    Location:
    Spain

    Grammar Use of Abbreviations in Narration Speech

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Artifacs, Dec 28, 2018.

    Hello, English native forum friends. I'm opening this post because I'm in doubt about the use of the regular sci-fi abbreviations in third person narration.
    Some usual abbreviation examples:

    lab = laboratory
    mod / modi = body modificator / modification
    tech = tecnology / technic(s)
    mech = mechanic / mechanical / giant robot

    The thing is I'd like to use a detached narration voice in third person.

    In Spanish, we won't use abbreviations as the voice of a third person narrator not involved in the events, although they would sound ok in the voice of characters or in the one of an involved narrator who has some particular personality.

    The reason is that abbreviations in my language are unconsciously included (meaning, the first impression) in the familiar scope/registry of the speaker, not in the literary registry

    For example, if you write this sentence in Spanish keeping the abbreviations:

    The commander walked into the lab to check the high-tech project.

    It would sound like the narrator has some familiarity with the reader, like something you read on an adhesive note that some friend has left on the fridge door. It's not even what a person who doesn't know you would write, let alone what a regular detached literary Spanish narrator would say, the proper literary sentence would be:

    The commander walked into the laboratory to check the high-technology project.

    I don't know how this registry level of abbreviations in this kind of narration is understood by native Speakers. Does the abbreviated sentence conveys a proper detached literary narration for you?

    Thank you in advance for your comments.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  2. The Piper

    The Piper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2016
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    343
    Location:
    Norfolk
    IMO high-technology doesn't sound quite right. It depends on audience - writing for a Spanish audience do it the Spanish way, etc etc. I would say the first option is a better fit for English-speaking audiences.

    Worth noting I'm not massively into sci-fi but have never heard of the term "modi" used in that way. It very likely is a term (but one that I've never come across) so don't worry I'm probably wrong! But unless you already know otherwise worth checking if that's a commonly used term.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Artifacs likes this.
  3. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    271
    Location:
    Spain
    The Piper, thank you for your comments. I liked to write for an English-speaking audience. I take then that there's no such speech scope/registry difference in English using abbreviations. Is that correct?

    That's interesting from an English Learner POV. Thanks.

    Yes, My fault, It's a typo. Thanks for the correction.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,347
    Likes Received:
    13,058
    I think it depends on the specific abbreviations. The ones that you mention are so common that they wouldn’t bother me in a moderately formal narrative voice. But I’m sure that there are others that would feel off.
     
    Shenanigator, Artifacs and Matt E like this.
  5. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    271
    Location:
    Spain
    Thank you for comment, ChickenFreak.
    An American speaker told me that the word laboratory, for instance, sounds too official (like in JPL, Jet Propulsion Laboratory or like the Frankestein's place) and it could be a little annoying to find it repeatidly during narration.
    Now, my dilemma is that I want the narrative voice to be even, detached, no switching on/off the "abbreviation mode" if that causes losing formality.
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,347
    Likes Received:
    13,058
    I think that you're at risk of being excessively formal. Are all "formal" novels in your language pretty much the same level of formality, rather than having a range of formality?
     
    Shenanigator and Artifacs like this.
  7. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    271
    Location:
    Spain
    The thing with Spanish language (European one, at least) is that it's very formal in the impersonal narrative voice. But you're right, it's not inflexible.
    I can imagine a couple of justified situations to use abbreviations without "breaking the rule".
    And thank you, again, since you're solved my initial doubt about if a native speaker reads (1) and (2) differently.
     

Share This Page