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Fame<Infamy
07-07-2010, 12:05 PM
I have a British main character (well one of them is British), she's a twenty six year old female who grew up in Manchester, moved to Kendal and worked in London as an adult (I know region plays a part in slang). I was just wondering what are some good sources for slang when I could pick up on some stuff she would say, slang wise and word usage wise. From interacting a lot with British friends online and the like, I have picked up a lot. I know when she would say certain phrases we don't use and things to avoid, but it feels like there are subtle words here I could pick up on.

pdr
07-07-2010, 12:44 PM
you go down to Genres and look in Historical you will find a sticky about British versus American word usage.

Also in Historical is a sticky called Resources by Era. Scroll down carefully and you will find that in the dictionary section there is a slang dictionary Google books has plus some other suggestions.

If she grew up in Manchester she will have some quite Mancunian specific expressions.

May I politely suggest you have your British friends read your novel/short story? carefully to make sure. Simple things like word order rather than actual slang or the word used make a person sound peculiarly Northern English. And then you have to be careful to get Lancashire Northern English and not slip into Yorkshire English.

shaldna
07-07-2010, 02:06 PM
Also, slang depends alot on what part of the city she grew up in and what sort of background came from.

waylander
07-07-2010, 03:02 PM
Also, slang depends alot on what part of the city she grew up in and what sort of background came from.

Seconded.
Did she grow up in a nice middle-class suburb or on a council estate? This will make a huge difference to how she speaks

Mr Flibble
07-07-2010, 04:16 PM
And then you have to be careful to get Lancashire Northern English and not slip into Yorkshire English. Mixing up Yorkshire/Lancashire is a hanging offence isn't it?

Other than that - thirded.

Priene
07-07-2010, 04:36 PM
Mixing up Yorkshire/Lancashire is a hanging offence isn't it?

'appen.

Fame<Infamy
07-07-2010, 06:23 PM
To those asking about her upbringing, she'd call herself upper middle class, very proper family and all.

And yeah I plan to have a few British friends look over it.

Chris P
07-07-2010, 06:34 PM
Try to avoid too much slang. People won't notice if you don't use slang, but they will notice big time if you do the slang wrong.

Once it's done, get thee a British beta reader. You can research the difference between mail/post, purse/wallet and chips/fries all you want, but if you miss some of the more subtle differences you'll be "gutted."

For example, I read a book with US characters by a UK author. There is no way he could have known that American kids "stay home" from school rather than "stay off" from school. How would he know that stalled cars are "towed" instead of "dollied"? A good American beta reader would have caught these and saved him some embarrassment.

Fame<Infamy
07-07-2010, 06:47 PM
Try to avoid too much slang. People won't notice if you don't use slang, but they will notice big time if you do the slang wrong.

Once it's done, get thee a British beta reader. You can research the difference between mail/post, purse/wallet and chips/fries all you want, but if you miss some of the more subtle differences you'll be "gutted."

For example, I read a book with US characters by a UK author. There is no way he could have known that American kids "stay home" from school rather than "stay off" from school. How would he know that stalled cars are "towed" instead of "dollied"? A good American beta reader would have caught these and saved him some embarrassment.


I actually knew all of the ones you mentioned above, I tend to make sure of little things like bin instead of trash. I plan for her to become slightly more Americanized as time passes, but it won't be right away and some things will never change. I don't use much slang but for the most part she seems to be more long winded and proper spoken because she's around mostly Texans.

waylander
07-07-2010, 08:32 PM
To those asking about her upbringing, she'd call herself upper middle class, very proper family and all.

And yeah I plan to have a few British friends look over it.

In which case she will barely have a Manchester accent.

As an example of a Manchester accent see if you can find any Youtube interviews with either of the Gallagher brothers from Oasis

Fame<Infamy
07-07-2010, 08:48 PM
In which case she will barely have a Manchester accent.

As an example of a Manchester accent see if you can find any Youtube interviews with either of the Gallagher brothers from Oasis
She has sort of a strange lineage too, like her mother is actually Welsh but has lost the accent.

pdr
07-08-2010, 06:45 AM
Mixing up Yorkshire/Lancashire is a hanging offence isn't it?

Tha woudna chuckle!