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12

We have four variants of foreign language dialog in fiction and the corresponding solutions how we can handle this: foreign language foreign language is limited to makes up a major short phrases or part of all dialog occurs only rarely ...


7

Write the story you want to write. Some people will take offense. That's okay. Read any chapter of Game of Thrones that has an adult viewpoint character. Watch any episode of Deadwood. Some people will take offense. That's okay.


6

Swearing can be tricky and in general it's not a great idea to over use it. However, I think that if you do it in context and use it sparingly then there isn't a problem with it. The opening line of the book, "The Martian," uses the F word, and it's not having any problems with sales and was turned into a movie, but you should be aware that by including ...


6

The narration. I'm thinking of not using the narration at all. Please don't do this. It is very, very hard to understand even when handled by a master. If this is your first book, it will be almost impossible for your readers to follow. My suggestion for you is this: Start a blog, and write short stories, flash fiction, or chapters of your book using ...


5

In English, proper names are generally not translated, because usually the meaning is not important --what is important is that it is the name of the character. Many common English names have no definition (at least not one that would be known to the average English speaker) and even when a name has a meaning, the meaning is usually irrelevant. ...


4

The answer would seem to be to remember the point of view of the narrator. If you are writing from the protagonists point of view, then write it from the language that the protagonist speaks. if (s)he goes into a shop and doesn't understand anything that is said, then say that they had to point at what they wanted etc If later on the protagonist learns the ...


4

This is very difficult to answer with any finality so I'll present a few thoughts that come to mind and hope they help you: Your use of such words creates a style to your writing. Every author has a style and readers usually enjoy styles that are not common. So, having a style that integrates the use of outmoded, though perfectly correct, words would bring ...


4

In the United States, a language, generally, is described as a "specification"; that is, as a set of facts. For a language, these facts would be a series of statements along the lines of "X is a word having such-and-such a definition". Facts, in and of themselves, cannot be copyrighted (or patented, for that matter). What is protectable is a specific "...


4

If the character is narrating his story to the reader, then he's speaking to the reader, so that problem is solved. If he doesn't know where he is, then he has to figure it out from what he can take in through his senses, which he's going to describe to the reader. I woke up slowly. It was dark, and cold — a lot colder than the last time I ...


3

Look at your characters. If they are people who are likely to swear then to strip them of that is to make your characters less realistic. Look at the scenes you're creating, if you're writing the conversation between a group of mid-twenties guys in a bar, it would be strange if they didn't swear. Obviously your perceived audience comes into that, if you'...


3

What happens in real life in England may be instructive: Sometimes people anglicise their names and sometimes they don't. Additionally, sometimes they just anglicise the pronunciation, leaving the spelling the same. For example, a student I know is called Piotr. He tells everyone to just call him 'Peter'. Usually, if people can make a fair attempt at ...


3

Use the English form. It will increase the sense of dislocation your character is experiencing (if this is what you're going for). You could draw attention to names using an English salutation (Mr, Miss, Mrs, Dr, and so on) which helps convey a sense of being in another place. If your characters don't speak this way, the narrator or voice of your novel ...


3

The answer here would depend on the convention in Czech, and not about English. In English, names do not normally have obvious meanings. When a name is also a common word, we usually have a certain amount of mental dissonance to keep the two meanings separate. Like if you told me, "I saw an old-fashioned black smith at the fair", I'd understand "smith" to ...


3

Most books set in a foreign country nevertheless give all dialog in the language of the intended audience. That is, if you are writing for, say, an English-speaking audience, you give all dialog in English, even if the story is set in France or on the planet Vulcan. For the obvious reason: if the reader doesn't understand the dialog, the book won't make any ...


2

Use angle quotes: "Speaking in English" «Speaking in Portuguese» This also has the advantage of being actual (former) usage according to Wikipedia.


2

Provide dialog in the language of your narration and use distorted spelling to indicate the accent of your character (and other poor speakers). You could also use distorted spelling to indicate the way your character mishears the foreign language. — Huts a dime. — Come again? — I asked, trying to make sense of the fluent speech. — What’s the ...


2

Serious Edit: The lowdown, as pointed out by Lauren Ipsum, is that it's probably not a good idea. Since the Tolkien languages - among other constructed languages - are within copyrighted works, and are probably subject to copyright law. There haven't been any serious legal limitations to using a constructed language, but that's mostly because it hasn't ...


2

Everyday scenes: I think not describing the narrator's environment is a valid option. For example, I never describe environments that are perfectly natural and well-known to my narrator, since my narrator does not have the slightest motivation to talk or even think about them. You do not leave your house in the morning and actively notice what your street ...


2

David Williamson wrote a play called 'The Club'. It used swearing. However, a theatre group that came to the school where I was teaching said they could do it without the swearing if we wanted. We wanted. It was just as effective, when acted, without the swearing, as anything we could imagine from the version that used swearing. Robert Swindells, in his ...


2

Any reader perverse enough to read 50 Shades of Grey can handle more than a few swear words. Apparently, there's about 100 million of them.


2

The first thing you must consider, is your own vocabulary. In order for the swearing to SEEM natural, you must be totally comfortable with your own use of curse-words! Otherwise, it's akin to Mark Twain's observations on a spinster's "cursing": You'll know the lyrics, but not the tune! I've known women authors who were excellent word-smiths; but only one ...


2

You've already described a great solution to your problem in your comment to your own question, but I'm going to give my two pence worth anyway. Factors against using Polari: as you hint in your question, it could be perceived as mocking rather than celebrating the original users. I am quite sure that is not your intention, but there is a tendency ...


1

People have brought up this question in several other writer's forums that I've been on. From all the answers posted here, apparently the question interests many writers. Whenever I hear the question, I always think of a comment I once read from film critic Michael Medved. He said, "I've never heard anyone say, That could have been a good movie, but they ...


1

Relating to the common adage that persons with inadequate "social vocabularies" will "resort to cursing," I feel it necessary to point out that "Tourette's syndrome" manifests in uncontrollable cursing . . . ALTHOUGH it is now recognized that victims of strokes affecting portions of the frontal lobes of the brain can also begin "adulterating conversations ...


1

That would depend on the audience. If you are writing for a certain age group, consider that. If you are a writing a book hoping that it will reach a lot of different ages, or types of people, consider that too. If you are going to publish a book, I would think the idea is to gain a lot of readers who enjoy your work, but also make enough sales that you can ...


1

There is a case pending that may answer this in court: Paramount v Axanar. See http://conlang.org/axanar for more info, including formal legal briefing and a memorandum from Dentons on conlangs & IP law. (Disclosure: I direct the Language Creation Society's lawyer on this.) You could also just commission a conlanger to make a language for you, so you ...


1

I am not a layer, but I doubt the courts would recognize a copyright in an invented language. I'm assuming you're not actually copying complete sentences and paragraphs, but rather individual words, and applying the rules of an invented grammar. The publishers of an English dictionary certainly couldn't sue you because you wrote a book consisting entirely ...


1

I am currently reading a book where the majority of characters speak one language (Japanese), but two characters additionally speak a different language (Latin). If a character is speaking in Japanese, it is written in normal English: You are beautiful but when one of the characters wants to talk in Latin (so that no-one else can understand), the ...


1

Living in an English speaking country would be ideal, but you could get great benefits by watching lots of movies and series. Although not ideal, and less natural than ordinary people speaking together, you will get a good sense of normal language use and vernacular. my level of command of English language will always be below that of a native speaker....


1

This is fiction? Where is it set? If you write what you know and set it where the native language is not english or the major characters don't speak english, you can emphasize your cultural background to give either a British Colonial or non British, non American feel to the work, your mistakes will appear to be part of the nature of the setting giving a ...



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