META: Dialect or Not?

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Thu May 13 10:35:49 PDT 2010

On Thu, 13 May 2010 00:47:08 +0000 (UTC), Scott Eiler wrote:

> I'm keeping myself amused this month by writing four Superhuman World
> 2010 stories at the same time.  In one of these stories, the narrator
> is a redneck.  He'll be writing commentary for the World Journal
> Monthly, the world's leading tabloid paper, which finds a lot of real
> news that other sources miss somehow.  The World Journal Monthly can
> afford a "ghost writer" to clean up his language, but should it?  Or
> should it leave that "dialect" flavor?

Well, this is actually two different issues, IMHO.

The first is, do you put dialect in if the character writing the material
speaks it?  And the answer is, no, that's silly.  Someone writing an
article for a newspaper isn't going to put "don't'cha know" in unless
they're being intentionally ridiculous.

...or unless they're transcribing someone else's words.  This is the second
issue; do you put in dialect for dialogue?  This is more of a taste thing,
but frankly, I've never enjoyed it much.  Put in appropriate slang terms,
sure, but expressing an accent through spelling and punctuation has never
been my bag of tea.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, that's completely subjective, tho.

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