Questions tagged [language]
Incorporating foreign languages, slang, dialect, and so on into a work.
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Are there any general rules or guidelines for using neologism or newly coined word (Cutease)?
Recently, I came across a beautiful word 'Cutease', defined on Urban dictionary as: Cute, sassy, saucy and cheeky. ends up being a tease. I found this word on one of the social networks and I loved ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 hand,...
Pretty flowers with clunky Latin names
I am writing a fantasy novel set in the Middle East. For multiple reasons related to both plot and atmosphere, I'm using flowers and flowering trees a lot in both descriptions and dialogue. Trouble is,...
Using colloquialisms the reader may not be familiar with
I'm from Ireland, most of my stories take place in Ireland, and many of my characters will speak with Irish accents and/or dialects to varying degrees. For the most part I think this is OK, and can ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
How to describe a seemingly-random doodle/symbol, whose details are significant?
In my Crime/Mystery/Drama screenplay, there’s a seemingly random doodle at the bottom of a mysterious note. The random doodle looks like a three eyed stick man with a hat. It is drawn with only lines ...
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 ...
Using fake swear words without them seeming out of place to the reader
This is not a question about slang, but about swearing and word creation. I have a character who uses swear words, and this is part of his voice. I do not use real swear words. I want the sense of ...
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 ...
Using words in other languages
I would like to use a few words from different languages but I am not sure on how to handle the fact that the words are read one way in English and sound totally different in their original language?
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 ...
Does misspelling words for the sake of bad English improve the immersion or distract the reader?
I am trying to write a character that speaks English poorly. I do not want to grossly misspell words for sounds or use bad grammar. I find those techniques to sound juvenile and the bad grammar is ...
Using in' rather than ing in third person omniscient
The characters I'm working with not only speak in rural slang [i.e. frequently drop the 'g' on words ending in 'ing'] but, as a third person omniscient, I also have them thinking in it. [Thinkin' in ...
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 ...
Chants in fictional languages
I plan at several parts of my book to have war chants done in the fictional language of my main race/species. Would it be better to write the chant in their language? Put the fictional language with ...
Writing accented dialog guides?
I was wondering if anyone was aware of a quality guide or text translator that would allow for realistic accented dialog speech? Say I wanted to write a character with a Texan Drawl or a heavy ...
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 ...
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 ...
How do I know what language is period-appropriate?
I write fiction set in 18th-century England and America. Obviously, they speak English, and equally obviously, they speak it very differently than we do today. For example, I need to know which ...
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 (...
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 ...
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.
How do you handle slang with questionable spelling?
Imagine the following common conversation: Q: What are you up to? A. The usual Now imagine it spoken by certain kids these days: Q: What are you up to? A: The yooooshj. My question pertains to the ...
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 ...
Is representing distorted voices via different typefaces, and different languages represented by enclosing brackets an advisable thing to do?
In the current draft of my book, the evil dictator whose body is encased in a silver alloy talks basically by allowing magic to move to seep into the silver shell, dispelling it and causing vibrations....
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 ...
Formatting multiple languages while avoiding italics for native speakers in their POV
Looking at this question, I was trying to figure out how to format a small family of novels and short stories that use a number of languages. My original approach went with the above question's style. ...
How does a novel writer explain the meaning of foreign words without giving the English translation?
I am currently reading a historical fiction novel about the Second World War. The characters are German and the setting is Berlin. The author uses German words or short phrases almost routinely, ...
How to handle translation of a language in a comic, while preserving a sense that the language is significant?
I am producing a comic in which a fictional language is frequently spoken. This language (and which characters are able to speak it) is significant to the plot, so it's important that the reader ...
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? ...