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Questions tagged [language]

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

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3answers
88 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
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4answers
202 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 ...
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2answers
56 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 ...
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5answers
88 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 ...
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5answers
174 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'...
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3answers
124 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 ...
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7answers
248 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-...
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2answers
80 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 ...
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3answers
149 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 ...
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2answers
111 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'....
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1answer
75 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 ...
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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 (...
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2answers
135 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 ...
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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
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5answers
233 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
148 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 ...
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4answers
548 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
96 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
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2answers
280 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 between themselves. Characters who are well-educated, would not be making ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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5answers
212 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 ...
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2answers
81 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 ...
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3answers
253 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 ...
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2answers
108 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 ...
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3answers
136 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 ...
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3answers
108 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 ...
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votes
4answers
165 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
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2answers
306 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 ...
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4answers
80 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 ...
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1answer
60 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 ...
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2answers
390 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 ...
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3answers
158 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 ...
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2answers
189 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 ...
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4answers
557 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 ...
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2answers
241 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
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1answer
59 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 ...
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2answers
77 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
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1answer
165 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 (...
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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 ...
4
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3answers
182 views

Southern Californian slang/vernacular

I'm playing around with story ideas involving university students. Most of them are locals but I wanted to include a foreign character as a sort of outside view. I also decided to make her ...
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0answers
70 views

How to invent a new language in writing? [duplicate]

I'm inventing a new planet with a new species and I don't have an official language for them. I need help with how to give them speech.
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4answers
301 views

Use of Regional Diction in Writing

Let's say a piece of writing is being composed. That piece of writing can, of course, be crafted with a slew of different techniques and artistic choices, but, one of those is the language used. How ...
5
votes
6answers
715 views

Credibility of using English in non-English-speaking worlds

In the Magic Tree House series, two ordinary English-speaking kids travel to different faraway lands through a portal. Every character they meet, whether it's ancient Greece or ancient China, speaks ...
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3answers
213 views

What are the pros/cons of writing in English in a non-English country?

I live in a country that doesn't have English as its main language. I have two choices in writing, either write in my mother language or write in English. Why should or shouldn't I write in English? ...
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5answers
188 views

Is there a way to improve my grammar without so much cost? [closed]

I'm definitely poor at English and I always have grammatical errors. After posting a question about what apps can I use to start writing my stories, I searched in this site if how can I improve my ...
9
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2answers
174 views

Naming non-english folklore creatures

I'm working on a novel that involves folklore/mythological creatures from mainly the Norse and Scandinavian myths, but in the world of the novel, there exist beings from all cultures. I wish to write ...
6
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3answers
638 views

How do you convey a term or idea that exists in the modern world, but not in the setting of the story?

When writing Fantasy, Historical Novels, or even Science Fiction - language patterns and terms are incredibly different back then (or in the future), then we have now. How can you properly convey an ...