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Thread: Is the word 'luv' a legitimate word?

  1. #1
    Philalexandros J. Marks's Avatar
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    Is the word 'luv' a legitimate word?

    I have English--aka British--dialogue in my MS. I've used the word luv a few times, as in "what'll you have, luv?". One of my English beta readers, a university student who is also an editor, took me to task for using luv instead of love, saying that he has only seen luv used in sloppy text speak, whereas, I'm sure I've seen it used in dialogue in other novels.

    My question to the English writers here is if it's acceptable to use luv. Is the beta reader right about it being just a text appreviation that doesn't have a place in the more formal setting of a manuscript?

  2. #2
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    Do whatever you wish. All the British works I've read had it spelled out. If it's made to be slang, within dialogue, I would press for the correct usage. Because "luv" doesn't present me with a different accent, just a usage of a intentionally misspelled word, for no reason whatsoever.
    Example: " 'cause I can." gives some accent interpretation. But: "What's that luv?" doesn't.
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  3. #3
    Travel biologist, piss-poor fluffer quicklime's Avatar
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    "what's that, love?" might work fine for me, but "luv" would be distracting as hell.
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    May or may not be a potato. thepicpic's Avatar
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    It would be love. Luv... can honestly say I've never seen it outside a text message before now.

  5. #5
    Out on the fjord Ellaroni's Avatar
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    I've seen it used in dialogue, I'm pretty sure. Can't name a book at the moment, but it might come to me. Possibly dialogue with some North England accent, though, so nothing standard.
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    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    I'd be a little irritated if it were written as "luv". It's very text-speak, and 'love' is such a well-established slang term by now it doesn't really need its own distinct spelling.

  7. #7
    The One Ring? Teinz's Avatar
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    Sounds like Newspeak to me. As in Miniluv.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
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    luv is more for casual speak online and text messaging.

    We usually say 'aright love' or 'is that ok love?' so love would be correct. Luv I wouldn't use outside of showing casual text speak.

  9. #9
    My New Cat Is Too Big for Shoulders Corinne Duyvis's Avatar
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    This immediately made me flash back to Generation X. Oh, Jono.

    Of course, comics have never been one to avoid phonetic accents. *cringe*
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  10. #10
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
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    There's a distinction between meaning "Thanks a lot, luv" and "Thanks a lot, love", certainly for me and where I come from. "luv" = a less intimate turn of phrase, or maybe something a little playful, something that, when written, highlights class (working) and region.

    I think you'd need to ask, that when writing dialogue, did the speaker purposefully intend to use 'luv'. There's no difference phonetically, but to me there's an aesthetic difference that changes things on a visual/semantic level.

    And it's in the Oxford English dictionary as non-standard spelling:

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/defini...lish/luv?q=luv

    By all means use "love" if you want to. But I also like the visual flavour that "luv" can bring in dialogue.
    Last edited by Fallen; 11-25-2012 at 05:17 PM.

  11. #11
    not napping... brainstorming! TudorRose's Avatar
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    Yes, as Fallen has pointed out, it depends very much on the context and the character saying it.

    A middle-class librarian with a Home Counties accent finding a child in tears might say "Are you all right, love?", while a cockney market stall proprietor bantering with a female customer who looks a bit glum might say "Cheer up, luv - might never happen!". To interchange them wouldn't look natural to me.

  12. #12
    Not a new kid folkchick's Avatar
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    It's okay for implied text, thought or speaking. And with the thought, only when it's clear you don't mean it as the real word.

    Okay: Man, how I luv that dude. Not.

    Not okay: I luv him with all my heart, and it's killing me not to speak to him. I hope he luvs me too.
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  13. #13
    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    A middle-class librarian with a Home Counties accent finding a child in tears might say "Are you all right, love?", while a cockney market stall proprietor bantering with a female customer who looks a bit glum might say "Cheer up, luv - might never happen!". To interchange them wouldn't look natural to me.
    I don't know if that's universal. Personally, I do consider the two interchangeable - it's the intent and the tone that are important (the cockney market stall owner would use a more jovial, lighthearted tone than your librarian.)

    As a cockney myself, I get a little irritated at the phonetic 'luv'. It reads as a little affected to me. We don't think of it as being a separate, distinct word. Of course, your mileage may vary.

  14. #14
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    When writing dialogue, think about who your character is as a person, as well as how he/she would speak.

    Word choice, spelling, and arrangement in dialogue is an excellent way to provide character descriptors of the person speaking. As Fallen and TudorRose have mentioned, those choices in dialogue not only provide the text with visual flavor, they also spark a visual of the character in your readers' minds--much more so than a paragraph of physical description of character and location would, and more efficiently, too.

  15. #15
    not napping... brainstorming! TudorRose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crunchyblanket View Post
    I don't know if that's universal.
    No, with anything as rich and varied as language I don't think anything can ever be considered universal or absolute Hence all the hedgy "mights" in my example. Language is always evolving and notions of class are fluid. Some of the poshest accents I hear these days are from traders down the Borough Market with their boutique gourmet cheeses and what-not! Always important to consider the character on an individual basis.

  16. #16
    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TudorRose View Post
    No, with anything as rich and varied as language I don't think anything can ever be considered universal or absolute Hence all the hedgy "mights" in my example. Language is always evolving and notions of class are fluid. Some of the poshest accents I hear these days are from traders down the Borough Market with their boutique gourmet cheeses and what-not! Always important to consider the character on an individual basis.
    got to love gentrification, eh?

  17. #17
    not napping... brainstorming! TudorRose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crunchyblanket View Post
    got to love gentrification, eh?
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  18. #18
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crunchyblanket View Post
    As a cockney myself, I get a little irritated at the phonetic 'luv'. It reads as a little affected to me. We don't think of it as being a separate, distinct word. Of course, your mileage may vary.
    I think this is it, really: personal preference as a potential character.

    I'm not cockney, but I've worked the market stalls all over the West Midlands for years (on weekends). I know I intended it as "luv" whenever I said it in that environment, to friends, colleagues, punters. "Love" was kept solely for hubby, unless he annoyed me, and then I'd always reserve the thanks a f****** lot, luv, for him, inwardly kicking him out of "love", lol. Yet during the week with university (lol, English language / Linguistics), it just wasn't the right context. I wouldn't revert to "love/luv" anything. So character diversity and context is good when it comes to this, and it's how I'd like to see it exploited in fiction.

    People are different, but it's good to show why sometimes.

  19. #19
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    I've never seen it outside of texts before. I think it should be spelled out as "love" to stop it looking like an intentional spelling mistake.
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  20. #20
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    To be totally honest, if I saw "love" spelled "luv" in a novel, I would get irritated and annoyed. It would stumble me as I read--meaning, I would stop to think about the author's word choice, instead of continuing to read the book. I hate phonetic accents in dialogue. Tell me the person has an accent, and provide a few verbal cues, such as sentence structure, slang, regional phrases and words, etc. (Like a Southerner calling a shopping cart a "buggy," or a British person calling it a "trolley.") Do a good job with the character's dialogue and I'll imagine their accent just fine. No need to resort to spelling it out.

  21. #21
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Techically there's nothing wrong with it in dialogue, as it is non-standard English.

    Just don't be surprised when I slam your book against the wall. I hold equal loathing for the term 'lush.' It's like being back in the '80's again. *Shudders*
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  22. #22
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    The old rule for writing slang is that if it sounds the same it's pointless to change the spelling. Seriously, real people don't have caption balloons coming out of their mouths, so how the heck do you know whether someone is saying "love" or "luv"?

    "Luv" only makes sense if someone is writing a letter or a text message, etc.

  23. #23
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Interesting reactions here. I have seen it spelled "luv" in dialogue where the character is speaking a certain type of British English. I am not from the texting generation, so it wouldn't bother me to see it in that context, because it characterizes that dialect.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by gothicangel View Post
    Techically there's nothing wrong with it in dialogue, as it is non-standard English.

    Just don't be surprised when I slam your book against the wall. I hold equal loathing for the term 'lush.' It's like being back in the '80's again. *Shudders*
    Aww well you'll hate Wales then. We use lush all the time. That's lush XD. Use lush to describe most things that are good.

    Its part of Welsh English volcabulary. Like 'Alright Butty?' :P

  25. #25
    I was only joking! Honest! mirandashell's Avatar
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    For me, it definitely depends on the character saying it. A working class bloke, no problem. A university lecturer would stop me in my tracks.
    I wish I was a glow worm. A glow worm's never glum. Cos how you can be grumpy when the sun shines out your bum?

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