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How best do you develop the language of a character that speaks in a local slang?

I have a fish, Peegheti, that is an Italian American in my third book and speaks in a bronx drawl. Capturing the speech in the written word is not as easy as it looks.

Any tips please?

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When I played a D&D game about a month ago, it was set in the planar city of Sigil, which has a large amount of slang to it, I found that the trick is to use the slang in things that are referred to commonly, like jink for money, and blood for important people. My character Odio von Sils used a very extensive vocabulary of Sigil cant that left me with more knowledge of understanding the pre-written chant more than the other bodies in the game, real spire Gods the lot of them for not learning it, I'm well-lanned in Sigil cant to where it's another language.

The dark of Sigil cant is that it's inspired significantly by British slang. Like I said before, it should be treated as an expensive spice, don't overuse it. Use it sparingly and maybe increase the amount used as the book progresses so as not to alienate readers.

That's good advice Aries. :)



Aries said:

When I played a D&D game about a month ago, it was set in the planar city of Sigil, which has a large amount of slang to it, I found that the trick is to use the slang in things that are referred to commonly, like jink for money, and blood for important people. My character Odio von Sils used a very extensive vocabulary of Sigil cant that left me with more knowledge of understanding the pre-written chant more than the other bodies in the game, real spire Gods the lot of them for not learning it, I'm well-lanned in Sigil cant to where it's another language.

The dark of Sigil cant is that it's inspired significantly by British slang. Like I said before, it should be treated as an expensive spice, don't overuse it. Use it sparingly and maybe increase the amount used as the book progresses so as not to alienate readers.

I think slang works well in a tense moment.  When I used to watch Everybody Loves Raymond.  Something would go wrong, the characters would get irritated and use the word putz.  I think when your characters are angry or frustrated they might resort to slang and reveal their background or upbringing.

 

One of my favorite Scifi slang is "frack".  The protagonist SLAMS the door.  "What the frack is going on!"  

Great link Aries!  That is a fun site!

And very brave of you to tackle that, Sean! :) I found some links that may help:

 

http://www.poewar.com/using-slang-and-accents-when-writing-fictiona...

 

Try this thread too:

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/BronxRoots/1999-08/09...

 

How about contacting The Bronx Beat and asking them to help you? I think you'd stand a good chance of responses given the type of paper it is. :) No harm in trying. There's an email contact address.

 

http://128.59.96.140/bronxbeat09/www/about.asp

 

The Bronx Beat is a weekly newspaper produced by the students at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University during the spring semester.

 


Or simply look for a local paper that covers the Bronx area and ask them too. It may make a nice little feature for them. Or a Bronx based library. I think the key is to go local for your sources.

Great ideas and feedback everyone. I thank you one and all.

 

Aries you migt be interested to know we had one of the first D&D games in the UK back in the mid seventies... Great game, much developed since then but still influencing me this day

I should've given a heads up that TV Tropes can suck you in for a few hours.

Ann Rodela said:
Great link Aries!  That is a fun site!
I once tried to write an Irish accent, I listened to Irish radio online for several hours and then gave it my best shot.  A total disaster.  I removed every reference to the character being Irish from the book.  Terry Pratchett is very good at accents, I especially love his Australian characters, pitch perfect.

Terry Pratchet has a real talent and is very entertaining, he is well funny with his wee free men too.

TV and movies can give a good help, providing the accents are genuine of course... Aussie accents are easier for me as I used to live there. Practise, practise, practise...

Too true!

Sean Noonan said:

Terry Pratchet has a real talent and is very entertaining, he is well funny with his wee free men too.

TV and movies can give a good help, providing the accents are genuine of course... Aussie accents are easier for me as I used to live there. Practise, practise, practise...

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