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Author Topic: Character's accent  (Read 553 times)

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Offline Baruden

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Character's accent
« on: May 06, 2018, 02:21:44 PM »
Evening guys,

I've realized last year that in my writing i had a problem in my writing, that happened after watching "Grimm" the series. that i do not focus on my characters accents and sometimes even their "Motto of talking" for example let's say in One Piece each character has his own unique way of talking for example Marco the Pheonix says "Yo" a lot. So i've tried to do the accent or character different use of terms kinda hard because am more exciting of writing what's next than fixing what's behind.

Any tips and tricks around this matter?

Offline Coryn

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2018, 03:29:49 PM »
Well, if you have international characters, then it helps to listen to a lot of people from that place talk. Podcasts are great for this. I also advocate researching local slang. I'm not talking about words to break out so you can go "this person is from blank", but the little things that are worked into every day conversation, that you wouldn't notice as something that really stands out in a sentence. A great example of this would be for characters from different regions in America. Depending on where they are from, they'll say either "pop", "soda", "soda-pop", or if they're a southern heathen, just straight up call everything "coke"

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Offline Baruden

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2018, 04:27:49 AM »
Well, if you have international characters, then it helps to listen to a lot of people from that place talk. Podcasts are great for this. I also advocate researching local slang. I'm not talking about words to break out so you can go "this person is from blank", but the little things that are worked into every day conversation, that you wouldn't notice as something that really stands out in a sentence. A great example of this would be for characters from different regions in America. Depending on where they are from, they'll say either "pop", "soda", "soda-pop", or if they're a southern heathen, just straight up call everything "coke"

That's a pretty good approach actually, however that may indicate the character's origin. Am more worried about the accent for example between British and American when they say "What" it's written the same but pronounced differently.

Offline Coryn

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2018, 07:42:19 AM »
Well, in that case you need to rely on the reader to employ their own sense of context. You could write everything exactly the way it sounds, but then it would become an absolute mess to read. Establish where a character is from, and the imagination can fill in the blanks when it comes to how they actually sound.

There is also, I think, merit to not trying to control every detail, and letting everyone who reads it have a slightly varied impression. It gives them more room to connect with a character on their own level.

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Offline Baruden

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2018, 11:15:05 AM »
Well, in that case you need to rely on the reader to employ their own sense of context. You could write everything exactly the way it sounds, but then it would become an absolute mess to read. Establish where a character is from, and the imagination can fill in the blanks when it comes to how they actually sound.

There is also, I think, merit to not trying to control every detail, and letting everyone who reads it have a slightly varied impression. It gives them more room to connect with a character on their own level.

Hmm that's a good point, however is it wise to write "With an Australian Accent" ?

Offline Coryn

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2018, 01:31:27 PM »
When introductions are happening, sure! It's not something you want to keep bringing up. But it goes back to what I was saying earlier. Set it up, and then subtly reinforce it. Subtlety is the key though.

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Offline Thurtin13

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2018, 04:22:38 PM »
I know the pain, if you don't do accents then it is hard to have the dialogue be to plain.

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2018, 04:23:17 PM »
Coryn is absolutely right. Any sort of speech pattern, whether it be an accent or an impediment is irritating when it's brought up over and over again. In the case of an accent, make sure that the reader knows the character has an accent, and reinforce it here and there, but you don't need to write things as they sound. Just make sure the reader knows that they have an accent, and they can imagine it themselves. Gotta have faith in the reader's imagination. You can, however, put in little changes in dialect, like an Australian person saying 'mate' or a Canadian saying 'eh', just don't overdo it.

As for impediments, which you didn't ask about but I'm going to bring up anyway because it's just as irritating when done wrong, it's pretty much the same. You see stutters and lisps in writing all the time, and you absolutely do not want to write every word the character says in broken or lisped English (or whatever language you're writing in). Not only is it hell to read, but it looks unprofessional, in my opinion.

TLDR speech patterns are a great way to give a character more of an identity or depth, but you've gotta make sure you don't make it annoying or difficult to read, or you could have the opposite effect you want on the reader. Just my two cents.
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Offline Baruden

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2018, 03:41:48 AM »
So the lessons from this discussion is the following:

- Trust your readers imagination
- Do not force accents just introduce the character with the accent at first then let it sink
- Showing the character's origin by specific words from his origin

Did i miss out something?

Plus my last question how will i implement this in a made-up world? for example if i have a character with a British accent, i cannot say "British" accent in a world that does not have United Kingdom!

Offline Coryn

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2018, 07:34:58 AM »
Use words that are commonly associated with British accents. Like"posh"

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Offline Baruden

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2018, 12:41:57 PM »
Use words that are commonly associated with British accents. Like"posh"

Ok that will make me pass the countries or accent with english as their primary language.

How about African? they'll mostly use clean English in their talking due of being second language !

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2018, 12:49:27 PM »
What you need to do is do some research on already existing languages and dialects. There's a massive amount of dialects and languages you could use. I'd do some digging around on language in general, especially if you're planning to use them as a big part of a character. Slang from certain parts of the world would have the same effect.
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Offline Coryn

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2018, 01:42:52 PM »
Effie makes a good point. There is already a wide array of words specifically for describing languages. Bit if you want to describe an entirely alien language, then talk about how it sounds when it first hits the ear of someone completely unfamiliar. Is it bubbly, does it contain a certain sound that's repeated, is it harsh, smooth. Get poetic with it.

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Offline Baruden

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2018, 01:35:42 AM »
Ok now i guess i'll sniff around, any book or site that you guys recommend?

and also if i find a dialect of interest for me any tips on how to keep it in my mind? or should i just list their words and every time i edit whatever i wrote i just go back at that character dialog and try to change it?

Offline Coryn

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Re: Character's accent
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2018, 07:41:00 AM »
Do research before hand to get it into your mind, do what you can while writing, and rework in the edit based on your notes. I don't have any specific references for you.

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