Friday, August 19, 2016

Using a Dialect in Dialogue

"Dialogue...dialect. What's the difference?" (I have actually had students who confuse these two words.) Believe me, there is a BIG difference! Let's take a look at the definitions:

      dialogue: conversations between/among characters
      dialect: a variety of a language

According to dictionary.comdialect is a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.

When used properly a dialect can help build character, plus it reveals “who” might be talking.

Dialect can be drawn from an existing one, or the author can create a new one. In Janet Beasley’s Hidden Earth Series, Volume 1, Maycly the Trilogy, Book 1, Two Altered Worlds you'll find a brand new dialect. There are characters called "chukkons" on the world of Maycly who have their own way of talking. Though it is an unknown dialect, the author has left enough of the “real word” so readers can follow along easily and still get a feel for how a chukkon talks. You’ll notice that the narrative is in plain English while the dialogue carries the dialect.

Charleo laughed. “Here be yer taggerts, me friend. Ye shouldna be a-takin’ me so serious.” A few of the others in the Pipe Shoppe who knew Charleo could be heard giggling at that remark. “Now let’s see:  one, two, three, four, and five.”
“What be this? Ye dunna trust yer old pal Charleo? Countin’ in front of me. Shame, shame.”
“Sorry. Just force of habit there. No hard feelin’s?”
“None be taken. I was only a-pullin’ yer leg. Now I s’pose I’ll be a-needin’ some pipe stuffin’s ta smoke in this wonderful pipe.” Charleo ran his fingers over the pipe stuffing jars. “How about...umm ...this one. I’ll be a-havin’ me a laund of the ‘E’er So Sweet’.”
“Ooooo, tis one of me favorites.” Jobi inhaled deeply with every scoop until he had dished out a laund on the scale, and he added a pinch more.
“How much be I owin’ ye fer it?”
“Ah, nothin’.”
“I’ll be a-givin’ ye somethin’ fer it, ye crazy wee fella.”
“No arguin’ now. Yer first pipe stuffin's be on me.”
Charleo realized there was no budging Jobi. “I’ll be sure and make a point of showin’ yer fine piece of work ta everyone. And I be a-thankin’ ye from the bottom of me heart.” Charleo gave a nod and a wink to Jobi.
“And ye be welcome from the top of mine.”

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)