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Questions tagged [language]

Incorporating foreign languages, slang, dialect, and so on into a work.

1
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1answer
86 views

Characters speaking different languages

Let's suppose you can only write in English, and characters speak 2 different languages. How do you put it into writing. Consider 3 different situations: Person A speaks in language B, Person B ...
29
votes
7answers
9k views

Is it ok to use “aluminium” in an otherwise American English text?

I am not an American English native (I'm actually a German native speaker) but, when I write, I use the American style of words predominantly. However, I always use aluminium instead of aluminum, ...
11
votes
4answers
355 views

British / American language mishmash

English is not my mother tongue. I am completely fluent in English though, and I write my fiction in English. Here's the problem: I live in neither the UK nor the US (nor any other English-speaking ...
-1
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3answers
193 views

Is the sentence “Love not self - love no one” easily understandable to an English reader?

This question is not about syntactical correctness. I do not care about that. The only thing I care about is to be understood properly. That's why I'm asking it here and not ELL. The meaning of ...
0
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3answers
204 views

How can I make my character sound Scottish?

Yes, you read the title correctly. It sounds sorta ridiculous, but I'm wondering how I can make my Scottish character in a story of mine sound more Scottish. He's a comedian who can rarely take ...
9
votes
8answers
3k views

The use of footnotes to translate foreign words in a novel

I'm writing a fantasy novel and one of my characters speaks in English, but sometimes utters single words in an ancient dead language, and I don't want to abusively use that language. For example: ...
7
votes
3answers
106 views

Different methods of incorporating Korean into English text [duplicate]

I have a Korean character in the novel I'm working on, and it is fairly important to the plot that she has some dialogue in Korean. Korean isn't a language where you can say what you see, if you ...
0
votes
3answers
110 views

How do I make my characters sound British?

This might sound silly, but I am trying to make one of my characters British and I have a hard time portraying that idea on paper. My novel is set in a fantasy land, nothing like this world and I am ...
7
votes
4answers
216 views

Coining words - when and how?

Writing an answer to another question, I stumbled upon a quote from The Hobbit: Bilbo rushed along the passage, very angry, and altogether bewildered and bewuthered - this was the most awkward ...
1
vote
2answers
74 views

Noble styles and forms of address

Style is a manner of address, an honorific that comes with a noble title. For example, HM Elizabeth II is addressed "Your Majesty". In a fantasy setting that does not pretend to be Europe, I have ...
1
vote
5answers
100 views

Using the grammatically correct way or the casual way to express the same idea in another language?

In casual conversation, it is perfectly fine to end a sentence with a preposition. How many job applications did you apply to? The grammatically correct way is supposed to be: To how many job ...
0
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5answers
237 views

How do i properly name a fictional species and describe it?

I'm currently developing a fictional species set in a fantasy world, and I want to name it, but I don't want it to sound too... scientific? For example, our scientific name is Homo sapiens, but we don'...
4
votes
3answers
291 views

How to write a character speaking in broken english? [duplicate]

I found a slightly similar question from 2014 on here but a lot of the answers weren't helpful in my case (as they brought up points of the internet and such) so I'm going to try here... In my ...
7
votes
7answers
307 views

How does an author write in hand gestures and non-verbal communication?

Writing in hand gestures and non-verbal communication is kind of tricky. They are deeply cultural symbols, interpreted by a specific group of people. To outsiders, they seem like nonsense. But non-...
2
votes
2answers
89 views

How to use professional jargon when writing fiction?

The military, the medical professions, police, etc. - they have their professional jargon. One noteworthy characteristic of this jargon is the extensive use of abbreviations. Those abbreviations are ...
4
votes
3answers
167 views

How to interpret a language from a non-speaker's perspective?

I want to create a believable conversation between a character who speaks Mandarin and English and a character who speaks English but does not speak Mandarin. Basically, the Mandarin speaker is ...
0
votes
2answers
116 views

Proper handling of “sophisticated” English usage

Good day everyone! I am currently writing my first fan-fiction. Here are some basic traits of one of my characters. He usually talks in normal English with a small infusion of 'moi' and 'thou/thee'....
3
votes
1answer
106 views

How to indicate that the source language is gender-neutral?

The source language in question is Standard Chinese. It is a gender-neutral language. One big thing that English speakers complain about English is the gendered pronoun, namely the third person ...
19
votes
7answers
6k views

How to describe a mythological creature that English has no vocabulary for?

The term is 妖精, which can be translated into English as "fairy", "elf", "goblin". As noted, the Japanese literature uses 妖精 to describe the European fairy. The English translation of 白骨精 in 西游记 (...
7
votes
2answers
163 views

How do I indicate that my character is speaking a different language than the one used for narration?

The main character I have in mind for a story in a fantasy setting will be in foreign lands for the entirety of the book. She will have a basic grasp of the spoken language, so her dialogue will use ...
12
votes
8answers
1k views

Colours of ultraviolet

I need to write something from the perspective of a character who sees colours differently from humans, and in particular can see multiple shades of ultraviolet. This isn't unique, their entire ...
7
votes
5answers
249 views

Foreign language dialogue in Middle Grade fiction

I have written the first draft of a Middle Grade detective adventure in the vein of Enid Blyton's Famous Five or Astrid Lindgren's Bill Bergson. In my novel, the protagonist, a boy from England, is on ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

Are there any general rules or guidelines for using newly coined word(s) or neologism?

Recently, I came across one beautiful word 'Wynorrific', defined on Urban dictionary: Something being both beautiful and terrible at the same time. [The word "awesome" has lost its meaning on ...
9
votes
1answer
151 views

Writing a short story set in a place I’ve never been

I’m writing a science fiction type short story set in Germany (actually Stuttgart). To some extent the location isn’t that important- it could be set anywhere but setting it there appeals to me and ...
10
votes
4answers
575 views

How does one add puns in another language?

Back in college, I took a regular English course that was required for all majors. The teacher just happened to be a grad student in British Literature, so we read a lot of British literature. All the ...
15
votes
6answers
4k views

How to address family members solely by relationship in dialogue?

Most English speakers probably just care about You, Mom, Dad, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents and Ancestors, Children, Grandchildren, etc. That's great... as long as you are ...
5
votes
2answers
104 views

Writing a poem in secondary language that has rules for primary language

Haiku is a very short Japanese poem with seventeen syllables and three verses each being of 5,7 and 5 syllables respectively. The Haiku was written primarily in Japanese language and the rules applied ...
10
votes
2answers
330 views

Colloquial speech in pre-modern setting

Following this question, I'm struggling with writing the speech of pre-modern (in my case - 5th century) noble-born children among themselves. Characters who are well-educated would not be making ...
30
votes
10answers
8k views

How to write dialogue for someone who is intelligent but barely speaks the language?

I have a character who is a refugee from another country. She comes to the protagonist, and they have a couple of scenes together, viewed from the protagonist. I read about how important it is to ...
19
votes
9answers
4k views

Avoiding Slang whilst Writing

I sometime express my personality too much in my more creative fiction. When I get going, I include slang words and phrases that sound fascinating and are comprehensible to me, but may not be ...
6
votes
5answers
221 views

How does one include non-Latin-based script in an overall English work?

For Latin-based languages, the foreign term may be expressed in italics. Gracias. However, what about non-Latin-based languages and non-alphabetic languages? Okay, what if something happens, and the ...
3
votes
2answers
84 views

How are suspected persons referred to in news articles?

In the Netherlands, convicts and persons of interest in relations to a crime have their last names truncated in published news articles – for example "John D." – but I know that this is not the case ...
9
votes
3answers
299 views

Is it better to avoid names with a difficult pronunciation in Middle Grade fiction?

Many languages are written using Latin letters, but often these seemingly familiar letters aren't pronounced in the way that we are used to. For example, an English speaker might read the name ...
2
votes
2answers
112 views

What language should I write my programming blog post in? [closed]

My background I'm a native French speaker and a software engineer, I studied in French and grew up speaking French. My Question is: which language should I use for my technical blog posts? On one ...
1
vote
3answers
143 views

If I am writing from the first-person perspective of a non-English speaker in first person, what should I do?

I have a character in a book I wish to write in the first person; however, one of the main characters who narrate lives in China. He speaks only Cantonese and Mandarin, so it's a problem, but it is ...
5
votes
3answers
111 views

How to write long extracts in a foreign language?

In my writing there are eight groups of people, each with their own language that they speak. Do I put large amounts of writing into their language or english? Do I write it first in theirs, then in ...
4
votes
4answers
181 views

How can I introduce languages that will be spoken in the long term?

My story is a little bit weird because it starts in a Spanish speaking country and then moves to Japan where everybody speaks japanese and I don't know how to introduce this new language that will be ...
4
votes
2answers
373 views

How do I remove Nikkud (vowel marks) from a Word 2016 document?

I am working on a commentary on Ethics of the Fathers and I want readers to be able to read sources I'm quoting in their original Hebrew. I am getting most of my sources from sefaria.org and ...
1
vote
4answers
85 views

Introduce new English dialect

I'm willing to introduce a new character who speaks a different English - he uses all the words with -ed in the past and past perfect tenses and he doesn't use the continuous tenses: "Eh, they ...
5
votes
1answer
77 views

What country to buy an ISBN when your language is different to the country you live in?

I live in France, so to obtain physical copies of my book (which is in English) for selling in book shops or giving away it is too expensive to order from Amazon because of high postage charges. So I ...
5
votes
2answers
400 views

Bending the rules of the english language for effect; sentence fragments and run-ons

I believe it is a time-honored tradition, in fiction, to bend rules for a literary effect. I'm printing a short story for my critique group tonight. One critique-er is a very by-the-book kind of ...
7
votes
3answers
163 views

How does one gauge the strength of any particular adverb?

I am now editing for adverbs, as silly as that may sound to some people. :-) I have learned, 'by ear', that the advice to 'avoid adverbs' is actually not bad advice. But I am also learning that ...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

Do I always need to use linkers and connectors?

I have a question on linkers and connectors. I'm from Spain, so I learnt English at school and all my English teachers have told me throughout secondary school that we always have to use linkers to ...
4
votes
4answers
567 views

Is it dull to have a world where all characters cannot speak properly?

I am thinking about setting my story in a postapocalyptic world where all art and literature are gone, and people are mostly illiterate. People lost the ability to formulate deep thoughts, became ...
4
votes
2answers
269 views

What font should I use to write alien language?

In my story, I'm using the font WingDings to represent the language for the alien race. Should I be using something different or am I ok with using WingDings to represent a constructed language? Any ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

What to do if my writer's brain functions in English but my target readers are those of my motherland?

As a reader I have spent far more hours, well... years reading in English than my natural Portuguese mother language. Now that I am writing, in Portuguese, I find myself fishing for words I know ...
6
votes
2answers
190 views

Do popular books use simpler language?

This might seem like an obvious question, but I'm curious if there's been any research into whether popularity correlates with linguistic simplicity. Furthermore, do popular novels use linguistic ...
0
votes
2answers
79 views

What language to use as scientific without exact its naming?

Hard to say why scientific language on Earth is greek, with touch of latin or not (instead ). But may it be. And probably answer on this question would be answer to my question too. But my question ...
3
votes
1answer
189 views

Bilingual Characters

In my current work in progress, I have characters from India, Ethiopia, Somalia, and so on meaning they all speak Hindi, Amharic, etc as well as English but as someone who only speaks one language (...
-1
votes
0answers
48 views

Needing some language advice [duplicate]

I would like to know how to transition between english and other languages or if i can 'cheat' and make dialogue notes in the writing itself so that people know its a transition but don't have to flip ...