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 Posting a reply to post #4003

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4003 No.4003
Is it possible to write an accent and not have it be obnoxious? Or have it be a little obnoxious (intentionally) but not detract from the story?

Help me /writ/, you're my only hope.

I refuse(d) to read The Grapes of Wrath for this reason.

It can be done, but as a commentary on the person's speech; for example

The withered old man from the docks pointed out to the sea.

"I saw the whale out there."

His accent was thick and southern, drawing out long lines of sound in his drawl, and pronouncing "there" more as if he'd said the word day. Still, my keen ears could grasp his meaning.

I believe in the philosophy of "show, don't tell," so this method seems kind of clunky to me.

You could always imply some sort of accent based on the character's origins and manners.

An old fisherman that spits as he talks evokes a very different accent from a southern farmer girl, even if you might write them saying the same sentence.

Only if the exact pronunciation is relavent to the scene (for example, for a joke), or the reader is not intended to understand the accent.

Toni Morison's Beloved pulls off a "Blaccent" rather perfectly, without it being annoying.

>"If a Negro got legs he ought to use them. Sit down too long, somebody will figure out a way to tie them up."

The trick is not to give them an ACCENT but rather, to change the WORDS they use.

>"I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house, and nothing in between but the daughter I am holding in my arms. No more running — from nothing. I will never run from another thing on this earth. I took one journey and I paid for the ticket, but let me tell you something, Paul D Garner: it cost too much! Do you hear me? It cost too much."

Another dirty trick I like to use for British accents is to spell it "colour" whenever they're talking, however, this is a little more halting and lots of people read "Cuh-lure" when you do that, so it's hit and miss.

Using words commonly used by people with that accent would help, like a British person might call a flashlight a torch

Besides just words, there are lots of expressions and sentence structures that are unique to different dialects.

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