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March 19th, 2003, 10:17 AM
Just wondering what your collective opinions are about writing accents into dialog. On one hand- regions do have thier own dialect, and a fantasy country should be no different. On the other, I often find it to be annoying. Can you think of any examples where this is handled well? I like the idea of using phrases particular to a region, more than writing out the accent.

March 19th, 2003, 11:09 AM
I prefer to use certain turns of phrase when I try to induce accents or dialects, but too much of either one can be annoying and hard to read. Another thing I occasinally do is to drop the hanging g on words such as going, doing, running, jumping, etc.

Strangely enough, for all of its flaws, Jordan's Wheel of Time handles these accents pretty well. Most of the time, it's simply stated what accent they are speaking, but occasinally you'll see a turn of phrase that is distinct to a particular region.

March 19th, 2003, 12:37 PM
I know that as a reader I really don't like reading accents that are written into the dialogue. Minor perturbations are okay, but when I stumble over a phrase it pulls me out of the story.

One trick you can use is to start out writing the way you think it should sound, and then in your next edit you can smooth out the language to make sure it flows. This is where it's nice to get a little feedback too, because as a writer you usually know exactly what you mean to say, but a reader may not.

March 19th, 2003, 12:50 PM
A good example of how not to do it are the Redwall books.

March 19th, 2003, 12:52 PM
Its annoying - leave it up to the reader to decide by putting maybe the odd colloquialism in like David Gemmell uses the word 'laddie' spoken by a character to suggest scottish descent without going into all that ' ach jimmy' nonsense :)

March 19th, 2003, 01:59 PM
I, like most people here it would seem, get annoyed by the overuse of accents in fiction.

A few indications that the speaker has an accent, is normally enough, maybe just a handful of times throughout the whole book. Otherwise it becomes a distraction, and and ruin the flow of the dialogue.

March 19th, 2003, 10:50 PM
Jordan does it well. His Illianers have a subtle difference in phrasing. His Seanchan he simply describes them speaking in a slow drawl. So long as the reader knows what you intend, you can be subtle.

March 19th, 2003, 11:24 PM
I can't stand reading through dialogue filled with accents. It really slows your pace and sometime you have to stop and figure out what the word is supposed to be.

I would just tell about the accent before or during the speech.

"Hey there," said Naoko, her Japanese accent showing she was not from here.

Some thing along those lines.

March 20th, 2003, 12:46 AM
Do not do accents unless you can easily do it in semi-normal English. It's one thing to say someone has an Irish accent, it's another, quite annoying thing to actually type it all in.

About the farthest I've gone is to have someone speak without using contractions, with the understanding that they have a very "proper" understanding of the language.

Like annoying names, annoying accents are going to turn off the reader. Avoid them if at all possible.

Pirate Jenn
March 20th, 2003, 03:39 AM
Ugh. Jennifer Roberson has horrible accents. Lots of "D'ye"s, etc. Lassie/Laddie irritates me as well.

I think it's better to use loose grammar and tight grammar, plus descriptive taglines (drawl, gutteral, lilting, etc.). And culture-specific phrases, of course, are good. [But, ware ye of the "what the gloking glock"isms].