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Dialect - to use or not to use?
  • The question is as exactly as above. Do I use it or not? The story I'm writing takes place in two different regions. Do I use dialect for speech, or do I use slang linked to particular regions instead?

    Many thanks,

    Doglover
  • A touch to set the tone is ok - too much and it is unreadable.
    Thanked by 1Doglover
  • The odd word or phrase is okay.

    And some words for specific things in one region are called something else in another part of the country. Alley, ginnel, cut-through, snicket, they all describe a similar feature, but in different parts of the country.



  • Carol said:

    The odd word or phrase is okay.

    And some words for specific things in one region are called something else in another part of the country. Alley, ginnel, cut-through, snicket, they all describe a similar feature, but in different parts of the country.



    And even with that you have to be careful to make sure that a non-native would still understand. I wouldn't know an unexplained 'ginnel' if you hit me over the head with a wet rag.
  • Thanks everyone. What do I do if the narrator says mam when she speaks, do I also use it in her narration? The story is written in first person.
  • Perfect example of the problem, Claudia. :)

  • CarolCarol
    You need to be consistent, if the narrator calls her mother Mam then that's what she'd use in her dialogue. Mam also clues in the reader to the general class (if that's relevant) and location of the character.
  • heatherheather
    If the narration is at the same time as the story then dialogue and narration of the same person should be roughly consistent (though I would think of one as how you speak and the other as how you think which are not exactly the same). If the narration is of events in the past (e.g. someone narrating their childhood from their adulthood) then there will be a difference - the vocab may have increased and changed for instance.

    In this case, she may have used mam as a child, which would be in the dialogue, and now say mother as an adult in the narration. If it is all at the same time then I would use mam for both.
  • I wrote a short story in broad Black Country dialect and got a short-listing in a WM competition. Not sure how anyone understood a word of it!

    However, I did read a different version of the same story on Black Country Radio, which seemed to go down well.

    I think the trick is to study the style of speech as much as the actual words. Different areas have different styles of speech, different ways of expressing things, distinctive sentence construction. If you can master that it will help you create the atmosphere of your chosen location
  • Well, one of the accents is my accent. The other one I will need to research.
  • However, I think some of the words used in my accent are taken from the second accent anyway.
  • I've used West Riding dialect in my latest novel but tried not to overdo it. Now, though, I'm faced with the difficulty of finding a voice artist for the audio version I hope to bring out. Glottal stops, anyone?
  • Can't resist 'shard' as in: Friday 24 August 2018 Shard, dressed and breakfasted before sunrise