Writing Dialects with Grammar Girl

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar, and Diana Rowland are joined by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl, to talk about dialects (and some grammar, of course).

Remember, the key to writing dialects, or accents, or using made-up words is clarity. Realism is good to a point, but if your realism makes your dialogue hard to read, you should dial it back.

As we mention in the podcast, Mignon’s campaign for her new card game ends at the end of the week so hurry over and check out Peeve Wars! I’ve gotta say, the game looks awesome, and I’ll be backing as soon as I get this posted.

Also, here is the book on dialects that Mignon suggests this episode: Trip of The Tongue by Elizabeth Little.

2 thoughts on “Writing Dialects with Grammar Girl

  1. With respect to writing/speaking dialect and accents, it is my understanding that it is essentially mapping one’s speech to the cadence and tonality of the target language. This is to say a Japanese person speaking English may have flawless grammar and vocabulary, but the speech rhythm and the tonality will match the speaker’s native language. If you further modify this with regional accents, well, hilarity just naturally ensues. Consider an English speaker who knows how to speak Japanese, but speaks it with the particular cadence and tonality of say…a Maine lobster fisherman, or a Texas rancher. “Ohayou gozaimasu, y’all!”

  2. Good point about using it for humor beats, Robert. Just, everyone, employ caution when writing so that your dialogue doesn’t slow or trip your readers up instead of adding an interesting and fun new dimension to the story!

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