Murasaki_Ducky's picture
Murasaki_Ducky from Austin is reading Stardust May 21, 2015 - 8:12am

Hello All,

I'm writing a story with an important character who is English and I need some pointers for his dialog. I don't want him to sound overly English because this character is a celebrity who has done a lot of traveling so he understands that not everyone around the world is "fluent in British". But I would like some of his language to reflect his upbringing. I know there are different dialects of British English so how would I go about using the right one? This would also depend on what part of England he grew up in correct? Does anyone know of a good source I can refer to for commonly used British words (I've found British slang sites but I want to make sure I cover all my bases)? Please forgive me if I sound incredibly ignorant! 

Any help is much appreciated! Thanks!

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel May 21, 2015 - 4:17pm

I would personally just listen to a lot of Russell Brand and use the language he uses. That, or pick any major English celeb and model it after the way they speak. It might save you some time and still nail the autheticity.

Just a thought.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 22, 2015 - 10:40am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDt78Y5orz0

you can start watching that show, you'll pick up little nuances, and i find it entertaining.

get an english penpal and talk about it, they'll know more of what's different thanks to hollywood. example: did you know "pants" means underwear over there? 

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK May 23, 2015 - 5:58am

Don't use Russell Brand, no one here talks like that. Pick where your character is from. Generally, well travelled Brits (and by that I assume you mean English, not Scottish, Welsh or Irish, right?) will use a combination of common UK and US slang, mainly stuff picked up from film and TV shows. Regional slang tends to be embedded from childhood, so you really need to know where in the country(ies) your character is from.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 23, 2015 - 12:17pm

Ha ha, no one except Russell Brand talks like Russel Brand. At least I hope.

Now Seb, you'd be the guy to run dialogue by and have it tweaked, wouldn't you?

#businessopportunity

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK May 24, 2015 - 9:42am

Yeah, that's fine by me. I've lived in various parts of the country, know a lot of people from varied backgrounds and locations, and have a fairly good grasp of regional dialects and slang. I'd be happy to run through dialogue and offer thoughts and opinions, possibly in exchange for similar from others? Story (extract) swaps, something like that?

Murasaki_Ducky's picture
Murasaki_Ducky from Austin is reading Stardust May 29, 2015 - 5:35am

Thanks for the input guys!

Seb, I think you're right. I'll do some homework and figure out where this character is from (yes, he is English).  Is there site you could recommend that discusses regional slang?

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK May 29, 2015 - 5:59am

Not that springs to mind. I think your best bet is to pick somewhere then find people either from there or that know the dialect and slang. Some is more localised, other slang is more general, e.g. a bread roll in Southern England (London and below) is called a roll, in the Midlands is usually called a cob, and in the North (Manchester upwards) is often called a barm or barm cake.

big_old_dave's picture
big_old_dave from Watford, about 20 miles outside London, Uk May 29, 2015 - 8:16am
Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK May 29, 2015 - 1:17pm

Hahaha that is blinding Dave, nicely done.

Murasaki_Ducky's picture
Murasaki_Ducky from Austin is reading Stardust June 2, 2015 - 9:54am

Thank you Dave. I'm sure your link will come in handy.

Seb, I think I'm leaning towards Somerset, in or around Bath. Any movies to recommend? Celebrities to listen to? Perhaps one of the areas you are familiar with? Would you be interested in a similar arrangement with me as with Thuggish?

big_old_dave's picture
big_old_dave from Watford, about 20 miles outside London, Uk June 2, 2015 - 3:46pm

well you have Daphne du Maurier's West Country novels.

in terms of films all i think of at the mo is.-

 Hot Fuzz is in the west country - Gloucestershire i think.

straw dogs,  - 71 original version

 

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 3, 2015 - 1:53am
Murasaki_Ducky's picture
Murasaki_Ducky from Austin is reading Stardust June 4, 2015 - 9:04am

Thanks for the feedback guys. I appreciate it!