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10

Not all ESL speakers will sound the same, for the simple reason that they all had a first language. If you want to add realism, you need to determine what language they natively speak. Your native language shapes your ideas of tense, sentence structure, and what phonemes you're used to considering as actual word-sounds and not mere noise. Some oriental ...


9

"The point of a Horcrux is, as Professor Slughorn explained, to keep part of the self hidden and safe, not to fling it into somebody else's path and run the risk that they might destroy it — as indeed happened: That particular fragment of soul is no more; you saw to that." "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", J. K. Rowling "Lord Voldemort liked ...


9

Linguists have found that semicolons, colons, and even commas, are on the wane in everyday usage, and that many speakers no longer understand the use of a semicolon. Non-writers – and you will see this in emails, forum posts, and other written messages – often do not use punctuation at all, but rather let all "sentences" flow into each other, only putting ...


8

Your title, first sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter are your hooks to catch the reader. Make sure they are baited well. So, if you start with internal monologue, it had better be interesting, not just bland, random thoughts about how it's high up on the wherever. I realize that was just an example, but compare: Bad: "It's so high up here," thought ...


7

Typically, Chinese ESL speakers routinely make mistakes with definite and indefinite articles. They leave them out, use them when not needed, or mix the two. They also mess up indefinite plurals and pronouns, and verb tenses. All of this is due to structural differences between Mandarin and English. So, this answer might sound like: The Chinese ESL ...


7

It's a transliteration of a sound, so write what you hear. If it's one long sound you write Shhhhhhhh! (however many Hs amuse you) If it's a short one, you write Shhh! with three Hs. One or two look like a typo (Sh! and Shh!). Four and it becomes the long version. Sometimes I actually say the word "Shush!" so I'd write that word, but that's not ...


7

If you really feel the need to have whatever noise she makes expressed as dialogue, I would write it as "Hic!" However, I personally would either write it as Hic! to indicate it's more of a sound than speech, or just relate it narratively: Jane hiccuped loudly, startling even herself. She tried not to look embarrassed.


7

Add a little stage direction. "We read the letter." She had the grace to look a little shamefaced. "Apologies. Standard procedure." He nodded, even if his heart hurt a little to think the cops had read Tom's note. "Nothing inside suggests you're to blame. In fact, Tom didn't leave a reason."


6

There's no reason why it couldn't work, as long as you quickly make clear that it's internal dialogue. If it's a first-person narrative, the entire story is "internal dialogue," in a sense. The main benefit is to give the reader immediate access to the character's inner life, which may help us identify with him/her/it/them. The only real con I could see ...


5

One thing typical for all languages would be the speaker using the wrong word when they translate to the same word in their native language. For example, my native language has the same word for both 'roof' and 'ceiling' and I used to have trouble picking the correct one in English. Another one would be having slightly awkward phrasing: not the perfect ...


5

Have you spent time with children? If not, and I know it's not the easiest thing to do if you don't have kids of your own, so I'd suggest watching youtube videos of kids speaking.


5

Give the characters something unique: It doesn't have to be something mind-blowing or some kind of superpower. It could be something as simple as a toe fetish or not being able to remember dates. Give them an unexpected behavior: The wife of one of them left him and he reacted by ... cleaning the house from morning to night?! What? Give them an ...


5

1) Lengthen it. You're not going to have rat-a-tat-tat patter graveside. 2) Take each phrase you feel is clichéd, determine the meaning, and rewrite it in different words. "All we want is for our children to grow healthy and happy" becomes "That's my biggest responsibility and my biggest hope — that my children are healthy and happy, and we ...


5

I strongly oppose drusepth's answer. Slang is spoken language. Internet slang is written language. You cannot speak it. Think about how you would speak to a friend. You are unable to say pwned, l33t or n00b out loud. You will say "owned", "leet" and "noob". So, when you write a representation of spoken language such as dialogue you must use what the person ...


5

I'm a father of four children. Two of my daughters are this age. My son is just out of that range (15) and my straggler, my youngest daughter is under it (7). Kids this age aren't just less-educated adults. They're different. Smart kids this age may have vocabularies that outstrips some adults' - but their concerns are different. They want to know how ...


5

You could always not italicize parts that should stand out. The key point is to break up the flow of the text so that it is visible somehow. Capitalization could be interpreted as an internal EMOTIONAL SHOUT more than a sarcastic tone.


5

Your best bet is research. Find a "Little India" community, wander around, and listen. Sit at a corner coffeeshop for a few days. Walk through the retail area. Don't stalk people, but pay attention to who is speaking and what they're saying. You may get just a lot of Hindi, but if you're in an English-speaking city, you're bound to find someone speaking in ...


5

As long as you use two different sets of quotation marks readers should easily be able to follow the conversation. However, I think it would be more correct and more readable if you added a comma before the inner quotation. Of course, you could always avoid the dilemma by having Lisa describe Alison's words to her rather than recite them verbatim, "she ...


4

I'd write it in the script. You have to hire someone to read the lines, and it's audible dialogue which the characters and audience have to hear and react to. GREG I've got the tea. Where are the biscuits? JOHN Upper cabinet to the left of the sink, bottom shelf. RADIO ANNOUNCER And now, we present for your enjoyment the dramatization of Neil Gaiman's ...


4

My general rule with slang is that if it's in quoted text (e.g. dialogue), it should be spelled colloquially (pwned); otherwise, slang in prose should be written properly, when possible (owned). Just like if you had a southern hillbilly speaking with slang, you would probably quote him saying, "He be talkin' like this'ur," but rarely would you write talkin' ...


4

There are two things that advanced non-native speakers do: they have to paraphrase vocabulary that they lack (e.g. "electrical bus" for trolley bus), and they make typical grammar errors, which will depend on their native language (e.g. a lack of articles if the native language does not have them). The internet is full of non-natives (like myself) writing ...


4

There's a book called "Learner English" that discusses common issues of transference between various languages and English. It's an excellent read in addition to possibly being useful for your assignment. You might also consider taking a linguistics class, because it's difficult to manipulate the mistakes that an ELL might make if you don't actually ...


4

You would not use quotations, because it implies that she shouts hiccup rather than hiccups. If you replace hiccup with bang the difference becomes more apparent. she hiccuped = A women has just hiccuped, and this refers more to the action than the sound itself. Hiccup! = A sound occurs, and it specifically sounded like the word used. "Hiccup!" = Someone ...


4

Lauren's answer is the best way I can think of to go about it, but if for whatever reason you can't or don't want to do as she suggested: A person who isn't a fully competent speaker of any language, like English, will normally carry over idiosyncrasies from "their" language. The main example I can give is that home-language speakers of Afrikaans, which ...


3

You can try to avoid the Internet spelling of things, and it'll come out a little more formal, but I think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Consider: "noob" and "n00b" actually mean slightly different things, and "newb" is something entirely different! You lose meaning by conforming to a formal style. Admittedly, the interlocutor is hearing it and ...


3

The way you have it is fine. It's clear that each paragraph is a different speaker, even if the dialogue doesn't begin the paragraph. You may also want to browse other questions here under the dialogue tag.


3

Use guillemets « » for signed speech, as discussed in this question: How does one present spoken dialogue as a secondary language to signed speech? Then your reader will always know when someone is signing or speaking aloud, and you can use the tag "signed" as often as you'd use "said."


3

Not a signed language user or expert, though I had once to learn a bit about it. I think replacing "to say" by "to sign" is probably OK. But some other verbs can be used as usual. For example, why write "Emily signed back" rather than "Emily replied", which is independent of the communication medium, unless insisting on the medium, or on a change of ...


2

There's no reason you can't do this, as long as it's the reader understands the information you're giving them. The clearer way to do something is nearly always preferred. Writers have formatted scenes as screenplays within a novel, but it's a rare, experimental device. It also evokes a cinematic feel, which may not be what you want. Long passages of ...


2

Oh, you are doing well here. Very well. You are breaking a rule about cliche dialogues exactly where it should be broken. You are writing a meaningless, dull prattle that lulls the reader into slightly bored indifference and then you drop the bomb of “Animal Self-Destruction Observation Group” which makes me go "What?!" - and then you drop another - “That’s ...



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