View Full Version : Foreign language research

09-08-2012, 05:53 AM
I am not sure I am posting this in the right place (I'm new! Forgive me...)
I live in Italy, I am bilingual.
I have often read novels where there are lines or words in Italian and so often the spelling or the whole sentence is wrong!
I think one of the novels (one among many!) was the wonderful Wally Lamb "This much I know is true"....
Words like "whore".... are spelled "Putana"... when there is nowhere in Italy where it would be written that way....
it's "puTTana".... probably a silly question.... but I am wondering.... how hard can it be to research this kind of stuff properly?

09-08-2012, 09:06 PM

First off, ::welcome:: to AbsoluteWrite! You'll find that there are many great resources in the forums. I encourage you to take some time to familiarize yourself with all the various subforums and read any stickies that may be present (they're at the top of the list for the subforums and say "Sticky: Topic"

Questions like this should go in the Research forum found: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=66

This chat thread is for problems relating to the IRC chat that's operated to give members a place to talk in real time. Stop in sometime! I'll ask a forum Moderator to move your questions to the appropriate place.

I look forward to seeing you around!

09-08-2012, 09:46 PM
I'll port this over to the research forum. Hang on, and keep arms and legs inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. :)

09-09-2012, 12:14 AM
This sounds like an open gripe rather than a genuine question. You yourself know how hard it would be to research properly by imagining the need to insert portions of a language you don't know into a story. The double consonant is a famously difficult aspect of Italian for English speakers to pronounce correctly, so if someone were spelling based on what they'd heard, it would be an easy enough mistake to make. Of course mistakes like that pull you out of the story. I lived in Venice for three years and tend to avoid books set there because it's so rare for someone to get the details right. But there are so many things to edit in a book that it really isn't that amazing that mistakes are made. If you read this part of the forum you'll see all sorts of questions along with plenty of incorrect answers. Do people double-check those answers? Depends on the writer and the editors. Throw in dialects and colloquialisms and foreign languages are even more difficult. Your own use of a comma-splice and ellipses makes your post difficult to read.