Questions tagged [language]

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

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1answer
31 views

Is it acceptable to call my grandmother, nanny in my essay

I’m writing a senior reflection paper and I refer to my grandmother as nanny just as she called her grandmother. However I’m wondering if that is too informal for an essay. Also maybe a little ...
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3answers
109 views

If I use symbols like '@#$^^' would this be able to replace the need for me to write out the curse word in the story?

In my earlier question Could I use strong language?, I was wondering if I could use strong language in my mid-grade book. This time I wanted to ask if someone could tell me is it okay for me to use ...
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4answers
102 views

Could I use strong language?

I know that some books contain strong languages that aren't appropriate in stories but in the end, I think my book needs them for extra violent highlights that would do well for the villains. I aim ...
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2answers
86 views

Would it make sense to use words from other languages such as Latin?

By this I mean, if I used a Latin phrase or used a Latin title for something, would that make sense? For example, I was thinking of using a Latin title for an in-world book. Or a Latin species ...
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3answers
201 views

Writing Deep Things

Pleasurable to many is thought evoking language and words never heard in the past. So how does one advance to the level by which they can form them?
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4answers
202 views

How should I include foreign language into my story if the main character/s is/are multilingual

I am writing a story in English and my main character is bilingual and of a different culture. The characters and narrator uses common words in the familiar language (e.g. Spanish). Do I need to ...
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4answers
5k views

Is calling a character a "lunatic" or "crazy" ableist when it is in reference to their erratic behavior?

I am considering writing a line of dialogue in which character A calls character B (not to their face) "a lunatic". In the context of my story, it is clear that character A has a simplistic ...
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0answers
115 views

Any resources for writing in Anglish?

"Anglish" is a variation on modern English that avoids or replaces all words that have non-Anglo-Saxon roots. I'm working on a story where I'll need to convert a lot of dialogue (just for a ...
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1answer
58 views

Explicit language in YA fiction

I'm writing a YA novel where most of the characters are in their teens or early 20's. One of my characters has some "colorful" language in certain situations, (e.g. she twists her ankle, ...
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2answers
90 views

How to have a character speak pidgin without inducing cringes?

The character Lee in Steinbeck's East of Eden is a Chinese-American who speaks in pidgin — until he explains to his boss, in very articulate English, that he does so for reasons of his own. In my Gold ...
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2answers
336 views

How do I keep my character's gender a complete mystery?

At first my protagonist was going to be a female role, until I started having an inclination for male characters and the fact that I am a total BL (“boy’s love”, stories about male homosexual romance) ...
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1answer
34 views

How are the limits of regional vernacularism/slang should be employed in a novel that is true to the area and time?

What's an acceptable amount of non-standard English that can be used to depict the language of a certain area of the South (Louisiana) without turning off readers? My current work in progress has ...
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1answer
80 views

Lack of Creativity with Language

I feel as though my mind is uncreative because I keep coming up with trite words and comparisons. For instance, I if I want to say something is the highest in some quality, I will simply say it is ...
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2answers
161 views

Writing as a non-native speaker

English is not my first language, but as an English student, I'd always like to write in that language... I have many story ideas but my skills are not that good to be a novel writer where I usually ...
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1answer
56 views

Should I write a foreign character's dialogue in their language? [duplicate]

When it comes down to story writing, it's always nice to have variety in characters. Such as a character who speaks Spanish more than English or is bilingual with both languages. But say if the ...
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4answers
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Managing alien languages in Sci-Fi creatively

I’m writing a story where alien races are in constant communication with humans, but I don’t want it to be awkward or have to use language tags like “...he said in x language.” Maybe I could have a ...
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3answers
172 views

Would incorporating a constructed language into my story this way cause confusion later?

This is part of the story I'm working on: “Imikagaw” a feminine voice called out as she put her hand on the back of the man in cape. “Usamiakusta ow ihsataw aw amas Enna “Uoyustih ag imikagaw aw nah ...
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5answers
315 views

How to write a character with an accent

One of my characters is Russian and speaks English as a second language. I know that people with Russian accents tend to leave out words like “the” and “a” because they don’t exist in Russian. My ...
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10answers
3k views

I'm writing a prologue from the POV of a non-English-speaking character. How should I write the dialogue?

Picturing this in movie form would be easy. I would have the character speak their native language in the scene and place subtitles. But I do not have this luxury in writing. It would be weird to ...
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1answer
397 views

Using "her/him" twice in a sentence

I'm an English learner, and I had a question about writing "her" twice in one sentence. For example, what would sound better for formal writing? (This is not an actual sentence that I'm using.) This ...
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4answers
260 views

How do I write dialogue as heard by a POV character who isn't fluent in the language?

So I'm writing a story during the course of which my main, first-person-POV character learns another language, one used heavily in her surrounding. This generally works, but I regularly get stuck on ...
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3answers
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What word would people with outdated technology make up for a plane? [closed]

In my story, my characters live in the wilderness, and they have no modern technology. They do see ruins from the past (from now) but other than that they have no idea how advanced other parts of the ...
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2answers
107 views

Which language to choose: my native language or English? [duplicate]

I want to right screen play, but every time I think about writing, the first question that pops in my head is which one to choose: my native language or English?
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4answers
481 views

Capital lettering in old Italian names

I want to use the name Leonardo da Vinci name for a presentation, but I I can't fit his whole name and would only like to use "da Vinci" My question is...which is more proper, using "Da Vinci" with a ...
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2answers
58 views

Is there a way to generate a list of the most used connector words and phrase?

I need to learn Spanish and German for my short novel and I need to learn the language fast. One thing I wanted to do is to learn the 100 most used connector words and learn to write short and simple ...
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1answer
119 views

Foreign names with complex pronunciations in an English translation

I couldn't find an answer from the SE archives, so here goes. I'm doing a rough translation of a published novel of mine into English (from a Nordic language), and I'm left scratching my head about ...
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1answer
56 views

Using different times for different narrative purposes

I'm writing a biography. And I want it to be written in English, although I'm not a native speaker. Can I use different times to highlight different narratives, like this: Present - for describing ...
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2answers
118 views

Awkward language translation

So I’m currently writing a book that takes place in Finland, though I am American and speak English. My main character’s name can be used as a play on words, and people use it to mock him throughout ...
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2answers
90 views

Switching languages within dialogue [duplicate]

I'm writing a story which requires frequent switching between languages, sometimes in the same sentence. I thought about writing the foreign language in italics, but the problem is that I already use ...
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4answers
2k views

Should I stick with American terminology in my English set young adult book?

I am writing a book that is set in England, but because I would get the book published in America I don't know what terminology to use. My main character is in the equivalent of 7th grade but in ...
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4answers
192 views

How do we distinguish how a character pronounces a word and how it is spelled in a dialogue?

How do we distinguish how a character pronounces a word and how it is spelled in a dialogue? For example, some people pronounce words in a different way than they should, how do you show that in a ...
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2answers
157 views

How to deal with foreign language in dialogue?

I'm writing a story about a little girl who got bit by an unknown snake species and is being treated for it. Out of the 3 snakebite victims, this little girl seems to have the best prognosis. Here is ...
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2answers
7k views

How to describe accents?

India has a diverse range of languages and accents. Moreover, people from different parts of the country have different accents of speaking the same language as well. For example, a person from ...
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9answers
4k views

A torrent of foreign terms

I am writing a short story, about a particular field with multiple specific terms, none of which are in English. (Specifically, I'm writing about bullfighting, but the question could apply to other ...
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4answers
212 views

In which language does the Russian mafiosi speak in my English novel?

In my novel, the MC goes to a Russian mafia in Moscow. Now before the MC character introduces herself as an English speaking person, will the Russian character start the conversation in Russian or as ...
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1answer
168 views

How do I compensate for lack of knowledge about foreign accents and takling styles?

In my novel, Matt goes to the club in Moscow and starts walking towards a Russian mafia. I have written the following line; Christoff was sitting in the club balcony with his acquaintances. As ...
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2answers
6k views

How should I quote American English speakers in a British English essay?

I am working on a formal essay where I have to quote a few American English speakers, but my essay is written in British English. Should I change terms like color to colour?
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4answers
349 views

What language to write in for a beginner wanting to write fiction?

So far, all of the fiction I've written in my life has been short stories given as writing tasks in school. However, I've always enjoyed reading/watching/experiencing fiction and for the last few ...
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6answers
263 views

Can I use spoken English at some places over 'technically accurate English' in a general fiction?

I have written my novel as a 'first person singular' and in past tense. There are lot of times in it where I have written it as I will say it while speaking. I have used phrases which have implied ...
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7answers
552 views

Too eloquent characters

Here's a critique I've received more than once: "your character talks like a character from a book. He's too eloquent, nobody really talks like that, unless they grew up in a library." Now, to some ...
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9answers
5k views

Can non-English-speaking characters use wordplay specific to English?

Would it be jarring if in an original (non-translated) story, the characters, who don't speak English in-universe, use "untranslatable" wordplay/puns that are specific to English? By "untranslatable" ...
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2answers
6k views

Writing slurred speech

One of my characters gets drunk and accidentally kills another. He has a couple of lines where he needs to sound obnoxiously, falling-down drunk. Is there a good way to accomplish this? What sounds ...
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1answer
138 views

Foreign words break spellchecking

I am writing a text with a lot of foreign words, and MS Word complained that there were too many ‘errors’ and stopped checking spelling. Is there a way to force spellchecking? (Short of creating a ...
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1answer
255 views

How can you make up a convincing dialect?

I often need to introduce one, if not several, made up dialects. We're talking about fictional worldbuilding: so any real world dialect is ruled out. They can be used as a source of inspiration, but ...
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2answers
196 views

Would using Real alphabets on fantasy maps/emblems make any sense?

I'm trying to make flags for all my fictional countries. On some of these flags, it makes a great deal of sense to use a crest, similar to the real flags of Andorra and Spain. A lot of these crests ...
9
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1answer
116 views

Character Accents

When writing dialogue how should one tackle accents? Changing the spelling for certain words (V for W in German) is effective but may come off a little cheesy. Then again, not doing this might cause ...
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4answers
392 views

How to write Arabic in dialogue for an English piece?

I have a character who is a Syrian refugee to Canada. His first language is Arabic, but he's lived in Canada long enough that he's learned English and uses this as his primary spoken language. On ...
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6answers
1k views

English words in a non-english sci-fi novel

In the modern world, english is a well-estabilished technical and scientific language. Some terms have become so commonly used that they are accepted in my native tongue (words like "computer", "PC", "...
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1answer
104 views

Translation of a Translation

I'm working on my undergraduate thesis in German Studies (I'm in the US), and the paper is written in German using MLA. There's a quote that I would like to use that was originally in German, but I am ...
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1answer
60 views

What punctuation would you invent to solve your issues? [closed]

What punctuation is missing from English that might solve your writing issues? People may be able to come up with established ones that meet your criteria, such as the /s to indicate "that last ...

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