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atwistedmind
11-19-2008, 10:09 PM
Okay, i know how to write pretty much ever accent (British, Southern, African, Japanese, Spanish) however, it came to my attention that i can't write my own accent (NE Accent) i know we have a habit of dropping R's and extending A. however, i dont know how that would be written (And i'm guessing, everyone will have a different way of doing it)

Would i just write it like: Park the car.
or
Pahrk The Caar...
or would i use one of those fancy symbols that i don't know how to use :|

gypsyscarlett
11-19-2008, 10:17 PM
Pahk the cah.

lexxi
11-19-2008, 10:22 PM
If there will be a lot of dialogue in this accent, I wouldn't try to spell it phonetically all the way through a longish work -- the weird spelling will just get confusing and/or annoying.

Definitely don't use nonalphabetic phonetic symbols unless you're writing a technical treatise about the pronunciation.

When you first introduce whoever talks this way, you could spell their first few lines in a way that gives a better sense of their pronunciation and then unobtrusively slip back into standard spelling. Or describe the accent in a sentence or less surrounding the initial dialogue.

atwistedmind
11-19-2008, 10:27 PM
well, the character only has a minor part. So its only going to be a few lines anyway :p but anyway thanks scarlett and Lexxi

sunna
11-19-2008, 10:28 PM
Could be paaak the caaah. That's probably what I'd go with - "ah" if it ends in r, "aa_" if it ends in any other consonant. But I'm weird.

Of course, it depends on where in NE you are. :D

I also don't think I'd do it more than once, when your character is first noticing the weird accent - reading that more than once would be really distracting to me.

katiemac
11-19-2008, 11:00 PM
Unless the setting is close to Boston, I doubt an accent is even necessary. The "pahk the cah in Boston yahd" drawl is really only considered a Boston accent. I certainly don't have one.

And no offense, even if it's just a few lines, something written like this: "Pahrk The Caar" looks obnoxious. I'd try to mention his accent in the narrative and leave it alone in dialogue. Movies like The Departed or Good Will Hunting might help you see if there are sentence structures or other things you can play around with other than phonetics.

scarletpeaches
11-19-2008, 11:04 PM
Dialogue written phonetically makes me puke.

(And as a sidenote: you say you know how to write a British accent. I hope you also know there's no such thing. Accents vary widely within each county or region, let alone each country that makes up Britain itself).

Bufty
11-19-2008, 11:28 PM
If the reader knows where the scene takes place, and they speak the Queen's English there, regardless of any particular accent, what's the need to show the accent?

Does what is said or how it is said have any particular relevance to the story? If not, forget the phonetics. Indeed, maybe you could forget the line too.

Nymtoc
11-20-2008, 12:38 AM
Dialogue written phonetically makes me puke.

It takes more than that to make me puke. :D However, trying to write phonetic dialogue or regional dialect is fraught with booby traps. There was a time when writers used to take great pains to transcribe what they thought of as a particular accent or dialect. Those days are long gone. Today it's much better to indicate speech patterns in subtle ways. If I were you, I would avoid "pahk the cah" like the plague. You might mention that someone speaks with a Boston accent or a New England accent and let it go at that. Or you might introduce a word or two into dialogue that are typical of a certain region. It's best to leave most of these things to the reader's imagination.

Medievalist
11-20-2008, 01:00 AM
There's more than one New England accent; Maine, Mass, N.H., VT

scarletpeaches
11-20-2008, 01:04 AM
It takes more than that to make me puke. :D...

Okay, okay. So the only thing which makes me puke is a migraine.

But phonetic dialogue runs it a very close second.

Dale Emery
11-20-2008, 01:30 AM
New Englanders pronounce the final R in some circumstances, depending on the sound that starts the next word. In "park the car in harvard yard," you would pronounce the R in car.

Also, you stuff Rs into places where no R should ever be, such as between the words "raw onions" and between "law enforcement."

And Lisa becomes Liser (at least, if you're my father it does).

There are not only several New England accents, but also several Boston area accents. My friend's in-laws are from Revere or Lynn (I forget which), and their accent is distinct.

Dale

Danger Jane
11-20-2008, 01:39 AM
Not to mention that most people in New England seem to speak with an American TV accent. Plenty have some variation on the Boston/Rhode Island/Maine accent (Maine is probably the most different? I mean it's pretty far up there...), but it's not like every person you speak to sounds like, well, The Departed or something.

Writers like Mark Twain who spent ages perfecting dialects were writing in a time when people were much more provincial than they are now. We have TV, we have easy travel and friends and family from all over the world, let alone the US, these days. Chances are if you need your reader to know the accent a character speaks with, you can get it across in more subtle ways, and they'll basically know how it sounds.

I'm with everyone that has said phonetic dialects are really on the out and out, besides a little annoying. Think about speech patterns Boston-area people (or whoever you're trying to write) tend to use, and slip those in. Have somebody look for something "down cellar", that kind of thing.

Dale Emery
11-20-2008, 01:44 AM
"I'm wicked thirsty. I'm gonna go down cellar and get a tonic."

Simran
11-20-2008, 02:17 AM
Just don't forget your khakis so you can unlock the door of your kha (or cah) once you remember where you've pahked it.

atwistedmind
11-20-2008, 03:04 AM
Dialogue written phonetically makes me puke.

(And as a sidenote: you say you know how to write a British accent. I hope you also know there's no such thing. Accents vary widely within each county or region, let alone each country that makes up Britain itself).
yah sorry that was a bit bland of a description and a bit racist...

and yes, there is diffrent variations of the NE accent, but for the most part it is all the same; drop the R, add the A, Replace this, do that... really the only difference is in Maine you don't pronounce your G's

Medievalist
11-20-2008, 03:13 AM
and yes, there is diffrent variations of the NE accent, but for the most part it is all the same; drop the R, add the A, Replace this, do that... really the only difference is in Maine you don't pronounce your G's

Good heavens, no, it's not like that at all.

A native should be able to spot the difference between N.H., Vt. and Maine, dead easy. And it's not just the intrusive r, either -- a lot of it is vocabulary, and pronunciation. Look at the way King does N.H. and Maine; look at Robert B. Parker for Boston--neither engage in phonetic spelling.

In N.H. or Maine I can identify the dialect down to the region, and sometimes, the town.

Medievalist
11-20-2008, 03:15 AM
And Lisa becomes Liser (at least, if you're my father it does).

We moved to N.H. when I was five.

I didn't respond to my name in Kindergarten for the first six weeks or so--I had no ideah who Liser was :D

atwistedmind
11-20-2008, 04:25 AM
Good heavens, no, it's not like that at all.

A native should be able to spot the difference between N.H., Vt. and Maine, dead easy. And it's not just the intrusive r, either -- a lot of it is vocabulary, and pronunciation. Look at the way King does N.H. and Maine; look at Robert B. Parker for Boston--neither engage in phonetic spelling.

In N.H. or Maine I can identify the dialect down to the region, and sometimes, the town.
well, My family doesnt really go to Maine that much (yes my sister lives there, but she visits us) but i can tell VT and Mass. however they sound almost the same. (Vocabs a bit diffrent though, more people In NH say Bubbler, and Wicked)

Snowstorm
11-20-2008, 08:26 AM
Have a "Murder She Wrote" marathon, especially the episodes where she's "home." Some of the locals had some quirks in some of their dialogue that might help. (I'm under the assumption that the writers of the show used authentic regional dialogue.)

In the immortal words of Dr. Seth Hazlett: "A-yeah."
*disclaimer: not meant to cause scarletpeaches to puke*

I agree with some of the others above that phonetically spelled dialogue can be annoying. Perhaps focus on the quirks of their dialogue to solve that problem.

Medievalist
11-20-2008, 08:37 AM
This is Maine (http://www.joeperham.com/slowlanemaine.mp3). Notice "dirt".

More here (http://www.joeperham.com/).

Dale Emery
11-20-2008, 09:33 AM
Have a "Murder She Wrote" marathon, especially the episodes where she's "home." Some of the locals had some quirks in some of their dialogue that might help. (I'm under the assumption that the writers of the show used authentic regional dialogue.)

Tom Bosley's accent was absolutely atrocious, and I have a sneaking suspicion that many people (including movie and TV actors) learned their "Maine" accent from that. Awful awful Awful!

Dale

Dale Emery
11-20-2008, 09:44 AM
This is Maine (http://www.joeperham.com/slowlanemaine.mp3). Notice "dirt".

Joe Perham is great! In that bit he is speaking with a fairly strong country Maine accent (exaggerated from his non-performance accent). If you can find any audios of other Maine humorists--say Tim Sample or Bert and I--you'll hear variations. Maine humor is always delivered with a fairly strong accent.

I grew up in Berwick, a few towns up from the southern tip of Maine. Most people in my area didn't say "dirt" the way Perham does. It came out more like "drrt", more or less like folks from away.

Notice also the way Perham says "back," with a little quirk on the vowel. That's also indicative of a deeper Maine accent (less common where I grew up).

Dale

DecSigns12
11-20-2008, 10:25 AM
I love phonetics and accents :D keep pahk the cahh

Medievalist
11-20-2008, 11:30 AM
I grew up in Berwick, a few towns up from the southern tip of Maine. Most people in my area didn't say "dirt" the way Perham does. It came out more like "drrt", more or less like folks from away.

Notice also the way Perham says "back," with a little quirk on the vowel. That's also indicative of a deeper Maine accent (less common where I grew up).

Dale

He's from around Paris, near the tourmalines; my folks lived down the coast, in Rockland--where the local lobstermen would refer to me as "deah" :D

I grew up hearing Bert and I, even saw them live. Here's some samples (http://www.bertandi.net/listen.html).

KMorris
11-21-2008, 12:31 AM
I would say, honestly, I wouldn't bother with the accent unless the character is from Boston or close to Boston. The farther out of the city you get, there is less and less of an accent. I grew up about twenty or thirty miles outside of Boston (Metrowest area, for anyone that was curious. Natick, Framingham, etc) and we all had a normal, very non-Bostonian accent. I one teacher that was pure Bostonian accent, lived in the city for like 50 years and he said the difference in accents between Boston and most of MA was like apples and oranges.

Does the accent have any characterization purpose or is it just because? I mean honestly... if there's a real significant reason I would keep it in, otherwise I would probably drop it. That's my 2 cents though.

rhymegirl
11-21-2008, 01:20 AM
We don't have accents in New England. :)

It's the rest of the country who have accents.

regdog
11-21-2008, 01:31 AM
There's more than one New England accent; Maine, Mass, N.H., VT


Actually there are accents for different cities. There is a difference in how people from say Revere talk, compared to people from Boston. And some cities just make you shake your head and say :Wha:
NotfanuthinbuI'mgoindownnasqua
Translation
Not for nothing, but I'm going down the square


There are also terms of expression that are used locally that aren't used in other states.

Medievalist
11-21-2008, 02:00 AM
Actually there are accents for different cities.

Ayuh.

Southies, for instance, are different than people from elsewhere in Boston.

And there's at least one neighborhood where I've heard native speakers of Gaelic in their seventies and eighties, whose English is very very much a Boston dialect.

IceCreamEmpress
11-21-2008, 02:05 AM
Do you want to know how to do this?

"Where should I park the car?" Tom asked. Jeanne was surprised by his strong Boston accent.

Don't write "pahk the cah" unless you are writing a crappy book for tourists. Everyone from Boston will hate you forever, and we have wicked long memories. You might wind up down cellar under a pile of garbage, or not able to order a frappe or tonic with your grinder (and have to settle for a drink from the bubbler).

I could talk your ear off about the difference between North Shore and South Shore accents, about the difference between the old-school Cohasset and Hingham accents (and yes, these towns are next door to each other, and yet there are tiny variations), and about the amazing locutions of Central Massachusetts (when we moved out there, I was totally mystified by this formulation:

"I love ice cream!"
"So don't I! It's wicked awesome."
"I got a sundae."
"So didn't I! It was mint." -- A conversation where both parties are ice cream lovers who ordered sundaes.)

New Hampshire and Massachusetts the same accent? HA! I say.

imagoodgurl4
11-22-2008, 06:12 AM
Yeah, definitely don't write it phonetically, otherwise it's going to look like you're forcing it. And Regdog is correct in that there are different terms used that you'll never hear anywhere else and you want you're writing to be as believable and accurate as possible. Take the movie The Departed, for example. All the guys actually from Boston: Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, had great, legitimate Boston accents, where as Leonardo DiCaprio (though his acting was fantastic) butchered it and it pulled me out of the movie. Just write it like IceCream said because it's vague enough that you don't have to worry about trying to get the accent or the lingo write, but it's descriptive enough that anyone who has ever heard a Boston accent will get the idea.

selkn.asrai
11-22-2008, 07:08 AM
Unless the setting is close to Boston, I doubt an accent is even necessary. The "pahk the cah in Boston yahd" drawl is really only considered a Boston accent. I certainly don't have one.

And no offense, even if it's just a few lines, something written like this: "Pahrk The Caar" looks obnoxious. I'd try to mention his accent in the narrative and leave it alone in dialogue. Movies like The Departed or Good Will Hunting might help you see if there are sentence structures or other things you can play around with other than phonetics.


I agree that a) that's a Bostonian accent only, and a stereotypical one at that. Pahk the cah is offensive. Every state more or less has it's own accent, but there's no need to emphasize it. People have an idea of New Englanders upon first mention, just like they do of Southerners, Californians or Hawaiians. No need to have an accent to drive the point home. Give the reader some respect and free range with his imagination, won't you?

b) I think phonetics are unnecessary and distracting. Mention the accent in the narrative and the reader will imagine it without having to hunker down and try to piece together every letter of the the word you've chosen to interpret. Humans recognize words as a whole unit, not letter by letter. It's far too vexing a thing to read phonetics in my opinion, if I see them, I'm apt to put the book down immediately.

c) As scarletpeaches said, there's no such thing as a British accent. Just like there's no such thing as a New England one. Phonetics are inherently discriminatory.

Soo, in cayse ya din't git thi poynt thayr: Bad phonetics. Bad. Bad bad bad.

C.bronco
11-22-2008, 07:18 AM
That's a MA accent. I'm from CT where we don't have accents. I speak like a network reporter.

C.bronco
11-22-2008, 07:20 AM
Ayuh.

That's NH

Vandal
11-22-2008, 07:25 AM
Rhode Islanders have a unique sound, too. All those Rs that get left off of some words end up in others, especially when consecutive words end and begin with vowels:

data analysis = Dater analysis
raw eggs = rawr eggs

Words with consecutive T's lose the sound completely:

kitten = ki'en
eaten = ea'en (have you ea'en yet?)

The ultimate test:

"pierced ears" is pronounced PS DS


You may be able to get away with one example of these, but any more would be very annoying.

Haggis
11-22-2008, 07:31 AM
This is Maine (http://www.joeperham.com/slowlanemaine.mp3). Notice "dirt".

More here (http://www.joeperham.com/).

Loved that. It took me back.

I spent a yeah living in Maine (Pahtland areaer) and had a gelfriend up in Presque Isle--way nawth. There was a big difference in those accents, although her brother Don's name, was still pronounced "Dawn" in both places, though several hundred miles apart.

*sigh* I miss my Maineiacs.

I enjoy listening to the regional variations in speech, but sure don't spend a lot of time trying to spell them out in my writing.

But as Dale pointed out

"I'm wicked thirsty. I'm gonna go down cellar and get a tonic."

There are words, and word combinations peculiar to a region which can help. I'd stick with these and forget trying to make people 'hear' the accent.

rhymegirl
11-22-2008, 07:34 AM
Rhode Islanders have a unique sound, too. All those Rs that get left off of some words end up in others, especially when consecutive words end and begin with vowels:

data analysis = Dater analysis
raw eggs = rawr eggs

Words with consecutive T's lose the sound completely:

kitten = ki'en
eaten = ea'en (have you ea'en yet?)

The ultimate test:

"pierced ears" is pronounced PS DS


You may be able to get away with one example of these, but any more would be very annoying.

Also, we leave "w's" off as in Pawtucket which is pronounced "Patucket."

And don't forget Rhode Island is more like "Rudisland"--all one word.

IceCreamEmpress
11-22-2008, 08:11 AM
Words with consecutive T's lose the sound completely:

kitten = ki'en
eaten = ea'en (have you ea'en yet?)

This is also a Central and Western Massachusetts thing: it gets wicked cold there, so be sure to have warm mi'ens.

Medievalist
11-22-2008, 08:29 AM
But as Dale pointed out

There are words, and word combinations peculiar to a region which can help. I'd stick with these and forget trying to make people 'hear' the accent.

Ayuh.

Submarine/sub, grinder, hero, po bo

Shake, frappe, frappé, . . .

soda, coke, tonic, pop

Haggis
11-22-2008, 08:39 AM
And yet another take on the "Maine accent (http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2008/10/26/)."

gypsyscarlett
11-22-2008, 06:06 PM
We don't have accents in New England. :)

It's the rest of the country who have accents.

Exactly! ;)

Actually, I love my accent. I think it's cool that now that I'm living in Europe, I've run into people who immediately know where I'm from. It always turns out they visited NE and I get to hear some nice stories.

But to get back to the OP. I would agree it's probably better not to spell out the accent. As some have noted- use regional words to help set tone and setting.

selkn.asrai
11-22-2008, 07:07 PM
That's a MA accent. I'm from CT where we don't have accents. I speak like a network reporter.

I know that's always our joke--us Nutmeggers don't have any accents, haha!--but the truth is, we do tend to have them, though sometimes they're more subtle than, say, a person from Georgia or the stereotypical New Yorker. People from various parts of the country have immediately recognized that I'm from Connecticut. When I asked them how, they all said the same thing:

We don't dwell on/truly pronounce any of our hard letters (e.g. "ledders", if we include the sound at all; many times, we also are partial to Rhode Island's "mi'ens". We often drop the hard letter if it's the closing one, such as "don'" for "don't"), and this is partly because we tend to blend our words together. We speak relatively fast, especially when compared to other parts of the country (it's been that way longer than most New Englanders realize), and one can hear it in the way we speak. When you're from Cuhnneddicuh, you'll skip over those ledders that're mosdifficulto pronounce. <--that's obviously not perfect, but you get the picture. :P

....I mean, of course we don't have accents! :Wha: Sheesh.

The Lonely One
11-22-2008, 09:02 PM
Another vote for don't show accent by purposely misspelling words.

An example of why this is bad:

"Paw, we gawt to get to the daurn pickup truck before uncle Billbob gets awn back heah!"

This is a negative attribute about your character that readers won't like, not because he/she is southern, but because you're implying your character DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL. I mean, it is in quote marks after all.

"Pa, we got to get to the darn pickup truck before uncle Billbob gets on back here!"

Unless the accent is so silly and ridiculous that you HAVE to show it through dialog (in other words, your character has spoken to you in your head and even you don't know what the hell (s)he is saying), don't do it. I beg of you.

maestrowork
11-22-2008, 09:11 PM
Oh lord, please don't write "Pahk the cah" in your dialogue.


If phonetic dialect in dialogue is in vogue, can you imagine a scene where a Texan, a New Englander, a New Yorker, a Pittsburgher and a Canadian having a conversation? It would make the readers' heads spin...

Serenity
11-22-2008, 11:50 PM
I had one writer friend who insisted on phonetically spelling out her character's accent. It took me 3 to 4 times longer to read her work than anything else I read. It got to the point where I would cringe if I knew a dialogue-filled scene was coming.