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2

Don't do it. It will annoy/irritate/confuse people who have never been around children or don't like children. People who have been around small children already know what they sound like. As long as you have firmly established that they are very young children (and given your dialogue attribution, this is questionable) then do as Stephen King says and ...


2

As you've pointed out, realism is just a style, your problem is making sure the way your characters talk isn't distracting, which is a function of two things: Consistency and expectation. The first is easy (to describe!): However any given character talks, it should be consistent. If it changes it will call unwanted attention to itself. The tougher ...


4

Great writers do more than just say, "in real life people don't do X, so my characters mustn't do X". They understand why people don't do X, thereby informing their understanding of their own characters' likely in-universe behaviours. (Of course, sometimes writers do something unrealistic anyway, but let's sideline that observation for the moment). Why aren'...


1

I have characters like this, and a lot of teen characters at that. There are teens who will talk like this (Nerds who read. Socially Awkward kids. Motivational speeches trying to sound important, debate team nerds, drama nerds, and occasionally class clowns who are mocking the older diction). One of my favorite scenes I ever wrote went drama nerd ...


3

I used cleaned up speech; but I only use words I have actually heard people use in casual speech (or at least feel like I have heard used). I think the trick is to stick with things real people say in conversation. To some extent this depends on the character and how well they are educated, but not very much. I was a college professor and I am currently a ...


1

Yeah I talk like I swallowed a thesaurus at birth, my writing is even worse, I get around it by rarely writing characters who could be construed as being poorly educated. When I need to write a character who doesn't have the equivalent of a masters degree I write the basic dialogue as I would say it then reverse thesaurus it, taking the polysyllabic terms I'...


6

What techniques can I use to ensure my characters talk in a way that's neither too bookish, nor too literal? Read more! Read books written in a plain style, with no purple prose or that rely a lot on rare words. You'll pick up that plain, dry style, and you'll be able to use it in your own writing. You could be interested in Hemingway, from what I've seen ...


4

You still want your dialogue to be real speech. It's just cleaned up speech. If you have a critique group, read the scene out loud to them. Ditto if you have people willing to read drafts. You'll catch a lot of the worst sounding parts just in the act of reading. Your group will catch more. You can also have someone real it out loud to you, while ...


1

I would suggest that if this is a story, the character uses the Romanticized spelling of a particular word and then explain the direct translation by the narrator, and use the word as the address. I would also draw attention to the fact it's a foreign word by using italics every time it's brought up in narration (not sure on Dialog. Dialog should be less ...


0

I tend to find it incredibly jarring, outside of the example of Shakespeare and other older writers, of whom one does not expect the same level of accuracy. Like a number of other people, I already dislike it when readers analyze translated texts on the basis of the translator's own specific word choices, and a corollary to this is a distaste for the ...


0

With very few exceptions, you never want to interrupt the flow of the engaged reader, or endanger his or her suspension of disbelief. With that said, what will interrupt the flow depends on what the flow is. If you are placing the reader inside the non-English speaking characters --if you are giving a sense of what the world feels like for them from the ...


0

Even then, there are some jokes that are "Universal Jokes" such as the following: Wife: Does this dress make me look pretty or ugly? Husband: I would say pretty ugly. The word play here is almost universal and the gag translates into nearly every language just fine and without losing meaning. It even works in language families that are not connected ...


6

I am from Spain, so I have a lot of experience reading books in one language (Spanish) where the characters were supposedly speaking in a different language (usually English). I can give you a reader's point of view, then. If you are writing a story in English, aimed at English speakers, where the characters are supposedly speaking their own native language ...


1

Can non-English-speaking characters use wordplay specific to English? Assuming the question is from the perspective of a writer, rather than of a reviewer or teacher, the answer is that it's a decision for the author to make. As others mentioned, it can certainly be done and there are existing examples. The actual question about wordplay doesn't stray from ...


0

One of the fun parts of learning a language is learning vocabulary, puns, turns of phrase, etc that just don't translate to your mother tongue. Any English learner (any learner of any language) is going to listen for those special things and use them as soon as the opportunity comes up (as long as s/he feels comfortable enough to try). Part of the fun for ...


1

I don't know what else to do. If anyone has advice on how to make an ESL character sound realistic, I would appreciate it. All answers so far, as promoted by the question, aims for advancing understanding of the foreign language and culture. For an assignment, that seems to be quite ambitious. Without knowing the assignment boundaries I would like to add ...


3

A speaker of a foreign language can create a pun, or some sort of oddly constructed phrase in the reader's language by mistake. In Phillip K. Dick's novel, "The Man in the High Castle," a Japanese character, Mr. Tagomi, says, "Fleece-seeking cortical response." It takes another character a second to realize that Tagomi means "woolgathering." It seems to ...


5

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? The only time I'd say "yes, it would be jarring" (as opposed to "no, don't worry about it") is when the difficulty that these characters have in speaking English is a sub-plot, ...


34

Yes, this is part of the translation convention People tend to think of translation as a word-to-word equivalency, but it isn't. Different languages have different grammars, and each language words for concepts that can't be clearly defined in other languages. Translation is about communicating meaning and intention, and wordplay can be a vital part of ...


19

Yes, non-English-speaking characters can use English wordplay. For example, none of the people in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar are really speaking English, yet there is no problem that there are puns, some meter, and even a little rhyming—all in English.


4

In most of the books that i have read, which include a drunken character at some point, the person's speech mostly follows these points- Words which have two or more than two consonants continuously are written as if only one letter is pronounced. Eg: screeched may be written like- skrichd , skichd etc. Sentence usage: the .. car.. car skrichd .. to . ...


8

I have read books where authors deliberately misspelled words to try to describe the character's speaking. However, I personally think that this makes it difficult to read and awkward. Instead of focusing on how the character mispronounces words, think about the rate at which the person speaks. That's something easier to get across. Example: "Wha... ...


2

You use an alphabet that the readers can read for the same reason you don't have all dialog in foreign languages. It just gets in the way of telling the story. There is an assumed translation for the reader. Anything else just transforms the work from a story into a written puzzle for those handful of people who enjoy that sort of thing.


3

You need to install a foreign dictionary Microsoft Word can use multiple custom dictionaries to check the spelling of your documents. A custom dictionary allows you to supplement the main dictionary with additional words, such as names, specialized technical terms, foreign words or alternative spelling of some words. You can buy foreign ...


3

This is a difficult conundrum. Some sounds and ways of pronounciation are simply not made for paper. For example, the dragging of the vocal on the end of a word is impossible to onomatopoetically convey. You cannot write "wooord", that can be very misleading, takes the reader out of the reading and just looks goofy. Unless you're writing an absurd, goody ...


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