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How to write in a Southern Accent?

 
 
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  #1  
Old 12-14-2005, 08:04 PM
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Default How to write in a Southern Accent?


Anyone able to write up a small list of slang/way to pronounce some things for a southern accent orientated character?

Thanks!

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Old 12-14-2005, 10:48 PM
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I speak with a southern accent, and I found it hard to try and write things down. I mean I guess the words are the same, but its the way they are pronounced. I.E. when I say bro (short for brother) it sounds like bruh (sounds like duh).
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Old 12-14-2005, 11:01 PM
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Arg yeah, accents are really hard in character writing. At least for me.

Bleh !
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:20 AM
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I've seen many places in novels where they will use "ayuh" as a common southern-ish way to say yeah. Aside from that, most I've read just preface the dialogue with something like "He spoke in a southern drawl" or something like that.
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Old 12-15-2005, 08:49 AM
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Hmm, yea, I can see what you mean by that. I just like creating an effect in speech sometimes.

Oh well, I'll practice on it somehow.

Maybe I should go watch blue collar t.v eh?
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Old 12-15-2005, 12:02 PM
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A great book for examples on this would: Their Eyes Were Watching God

It is written in a totally southern dialect, takes place in the early 1900's I believe, and in Florida.

Anything else, I suppose, you would have to spell it broken-like.
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Old 12-15-2005, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Arachn1d
Hmm, yea, I can see what you mean by that. I just like creating an effect in speech sometimes.

Oh well, I'll practice on it somehow.

Maybe I should go watch blue collar t.v eh?
Of Mice and Men and Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry are both good examples of southern accents in literature (in addition to being great books).
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Old 12-15-2005, 06:23 PM
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I read both. I'm a southerner. Well, I don't think they're too great of a representation of southern dialect. Plus it's really dependent on how you're saying it. What period of the south, and how country you wish it to sound. For example, if you've read any of my essays, you could not surmise ever that I was southern.
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Old 12-15-2005, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DJRome
I read both. I'm a southerner. Well, I don't think they're too great of a representation of southern dialect. Plus it's really dependent on how you're saying it. What period of the south, and how country you wish it to sound. For example, if you've read any of my essays, you could not surmise ever that I was southern.
Ah, well, I'm trying to get that "southern" accent that is long. Kind of like blue collar t.v. I guess it's a more redneck thing? Not sure...
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Old 12-19-2005, 09:15 AM
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I don't think it's always necessary to alter spelling, but you certainly should mind the rhythms and diction of the language. Altered spelling can be a rough read.

Southern women tend to use "honey" and "baby" in direct address.

"Y'all" is the standard you-plural. Furthermore, you can usually leave out the verb "are." "How y'all doin'?" "Y'all goin' to the store?" I think most of us use this shortcut, regardless of education.

Young people address their elders politely -- women are addressed as Miss/Ms. Proper answers to questions are "Yes, sir," and "No, ma'am."

Please don't make your characters sound ignorant, unless they are. Leave "ain't" alone, unless they ain't educated.
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:04 AM
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http://www.theroseandthornezine.com/Fall05/Dialect.htm

http://www.justaboutwrite.com/A_Arch...s-Dialect.html
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Old 12-19-2005, 11:55 AM
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Thank you very much!

That's awesome
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Old 12-21-2005, 11:49 AM
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Here. This is a xanga of a southern girl.

http://www.xanga.com/JohnDeerelovingirl

Southerners talk exactly like this.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:15 PM
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What you have to keep in mind when trying to put a southern accent on a character is that, like every dialect, some people don't use them exactly the same. If you can get what you want the character to sound like in your head, then do your best to just spell it phonetically.

With that said, a lot of times if you need to say something like "need to" or "speak to", just turn it into one word like "needa"(or needta) or "speakta". For instance: "You all need to speak to them" would be "Y'all needa speak to 'em." The trick is not to overdo it. If you simply state that they have a heavy accent, then the reader should be able to visualize it without you overstating it in the dialogue.
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:44 PM
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Southern dialect is really difficult to write convincingly. Even William Faulkner didn't do it well IMO (I think Erskine Caldwell was much better at it.)

I have written only one short story with southern dialect and I relied on my memory of the colorful speech of a Florida cracker family I knew when I was a kid. They lived on the edge of the Everglades and they had a wonderful sense of humor.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:01 PM
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I'm going to fall back on a critique experience here. I was crucified in a workshop because I used a southern accent for my lead character. Although I'd read many books taking place in the south, I hadn't been down there in years and thus, because of my lack of experience with the south, failed.

Unless you are certain of doing well and know your stuff about how southern accents go, I would suggest not trying it. Plus, if you try to screw with the dialect too much, it can look downright nasty on the page. My characters were like: Whatcha lookin' at? Ya betta watch yer mouth, boy, 'fore I do it for ya!

Be very careful.
 

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