Avast me hearties! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up September 19. Perhaps the rest of the world doesn't notice, but librarians take this celebration seriously. In fact, the University of Wyoming Library purchases Mango Languages for all Wyoming residents to use, and you can find a short course in Pirate among the offerings. (Your library card and PIN gets you in.)
The event got me thinking about writing in dialect -- conveying the accents, rhythms, and word choices of someone who "ain't from 'round these parts," so to speak.
Dialect raises that tightrope a little higher. Too little, and it might not be clear it's a pirate talking. Too much can be difficult to read. Too little and you can sanitize a character. Too much may even descend into stereotype.
Since I'm no expert -- I only know how much of the stuff I can tolerate as a reader -- I thought I'd collect a few links for you:
- Most Common Writing Mistakes: The Do’s and Don’ts of Dialect
- How to Give Your Character an Authentic Dialect
- How to Write Authentic Dialects and Foreign Accents
As with any writing, you can only get better with practice. Give writing dialect a try. And don't forget to Talk Like a Pirate on September 19. Arrrrr!