Forum: Languages in Arda

Discussing: Dialects

Dialects

I brought this up in my forum, but it seems appropriate to put it here.

Dialects. In a place like M-e, you know they developped--even Doriath had its own dialect, and it was an Elf kingdom.

Anyone have any ideas on how to "translate" that dialectical turn of phrase when writing fics? Your uneducated Westfolder in Rohan will sound different (most likely) from your uneducated farmer around Edoras, and both will sound different from Edoras's upper class or someone from the Eastfold (like Éomer, presumably).

 

 

Re: Dialects

Ah, dialects. A pet peeve of mine is phonetic transcription - as in, "they *sound* different, so we just write how the words *sound* instead of how they're actually spelt." I have nothing against this in small amounts, but I'd advise careful and limited use! I don't like being forced to read dialogue out loud in order to understand what the people are saying. This is especially hard on non-native speakers of English for obvious reasons.
You can try to create dialects by varying certain aspects of the language - for instance, educated people of higher classes will probably use more complicated vocabulary and grammatical structures than your average peasant. It's also possible to use slang to differentiate between dialects (one can often tell whether a person is British or American by the slang they use). My favorite method of making speech unique is still varying sentence structure and grammatical forms. A good example for this is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series - one can distinguish people of different nationalities simply by the way they construct their sentences. An Illianer says things like "He does be thinking that..." (using "do" even in sentences that aren't negative) whereas a Taraboner would say "(name), he thinks that, ..., yes." or something similar (it's been a while since I read WoT). This is all very complicated, though, and I prefer keeping away from dialects altogether unless it's *really* necessary.

 

 

Re: Dialects

Ah WoT... I actually didn't particularly like that saga. It just dragged and I always found myself thinking, "I could be reading Tolkien right now."

Anyhow, yes, it can be annoying to readers to come up against phonetically spelled out dialects, but if it's not too thick, I think it's all right. So long as the rest of your spelling isn't such that the dialect is indistinguishable from error....

Usually, I do prefer the method of creating some sort of speech pattern difference for characters, but sometimes a part of that pattern is colloquial-sounding shortenings and corruptions of received pronunciation.

 

 

Re: Dialects

So long as the rest of your spelling isn't such that the dialect is indistinguishable from error....

LoL...Just recently a friend was telling me about a college essay he had written - it was horrendous in terms of spelling and grammar, but he was able to pass it off as a stylistic choice to write in "dialect", and the college thought him to be amazingly clever.

-Aerlinnel

 

 

Re: Dialects

Argh! I'm Lyllyn again!

Ahem. It's Dwim.

Just recently a friend was telling me about a college essay he had written - it was horrendous in terms of spelling and grammar, but he was able to pass it off as a stylistic choice to write in "dialect", and the college thought him to be amazingly clever.

As someone who just spent a quality four hours of her time last night trying painfully to grade and comment on the final set of student papers, I feel an overwhelming urge to throttle the Admissions officers... or else commit ritual seppuku (no, not sure of spelling, will look it up later) out of frustration.

Man is your friend going to be in for an unpleasant surprise if /when he gets a prof for whom spell checkers are sacred.

 

 

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