Written Accents - Your Take 🗣

I remembered coming across this random attractive accents list when doing some research for a story and am now curious - do people really have a preference when it comes to accents (in written form)?

Does pinning down an accent help you hear the character’s voice when reading, is the accent supposed to play up a particular part of the character (like giving them an accent you find unpleasant to help show that they’re an unpleasant person), or maybe the accent is supposed to show that the character is completely irresistible to everyone around them because it’s just so suave. Thoughts?

This isn’t the list I originally found, but it’s very close to how I remember the accents being ranked.

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returning later with a linguistics take

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I’ll be here, haha.

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The one thing I can’t understand is WHY people say they “like British accents” when they mean they like Southern English accents. They are not the same thing. British doesn’t equal English.

And Latin American accent, what? Do they think everyone in Latin America sounds like Antonio Banderas or something? :joy:

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I think it’s more of a like fancy thing (British, Latin American accents) and the words they use maybe? Maybe it has something to do with the 6 romance languages - French, Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian?

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@JohnnyTuturro I think it has something to do with how British English (specifically London English) is portrayed in media and how it was treated with the United States was formed (it was the principal dialect of English before the American Revolution. Thereafter, American English has commonly followed the Washington, D.C. dialect, and drastically branched from the London dialect).

Now, as for the Latin American accent, I’m a lot less sure of it’s history/uses but it’s definitely overgeneralized. I live in an area of the United States that’s almost 60 percent Latinoamericano, and being such myself, there are definitely hundreds of different varieties. An overgeneralized version may exist to caricature Latinoamericanos.

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I think it’s probably this for many accents, like a Frankenstein accent kind of thing.

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Maybe. I also think a part of it is due to media generalization. Like, the Sherlock and the Doctor aren’t gonna have the same accents at all. Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t sound the same as Matt Smith, say. Or David Tennent (sp?). London slang is different from other Southern slang, and Northern slang too. It’s the same with a lot of countries.

From watching my fair share of British media over the years, I notice that even different ethnic groups in the same cities have different sounding accents; a lot of British Whites don’t sound the same as British Asians, who don’t sound the same as British Blacks. They all have sort of distinct accents, like in the US.

And yes, the romance languages. The Latin lover stereotype, I guess as well to an extent. Or the sort of generic Latino accent you hear in TV shows. It has its own sort ‘thing’ if you will?

Interesting. Never knew it was the principal dialect before the American Revolution but that makes sense. I didn’t even know that the modern standard of English was the Washington D.C. dialect. :joy: I wasn’t really into History in school, but that’s good to know.

Yes, definitely. To me, Brazilians speaking English don’t sound like Mexicans, and vice versa. They all have differences in their accents. I follow soccer [football] and there are a lot of Latino players there, and when you hear them all talk, you can hear the regional differences in their accents, definitely (like in the UK, you can hear that as well, even within the same countries).

Even when Latinos speak in Spanish, their accents are vastly different as well. A Chilean does not sound like a Puerto Rican, and they don’t even sound like their Hispanic Spanish counterparts in Europe at all. Every region has their own unique slang and accent. A lot of people seem to forget that as well.

When I was on vacation in Spain, the local Spanish accents were very different from the Chilean guy I met on the beach [yeah I was speaking to them in Spanish, or attempting to lol]. And his accent was very different from the Dominican guy I met in Barcelona.

Yeah, I think ‘cariciture’ was the word I was looking for when I said ‘thing’ above lol but yeah, that also makes sense too. A condensation into the ‘Latinoamericano’ accent that everyone seems to think is monolithic in media and one singular thing, when it’s not.

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I don’t know about prefrence, but I write out some accents and I feel like it does make some diffrence in distigusihing between diffrent areas and characters, instead of havinf everything sound exactly the same :grin:

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I think little intricacies like this are interesting because even though they may seem tiny they can help make things… More authentic? Writing-wise, I mean. Like, it may flow more naturally if you’re a native of that place and know the general language, so words and sayings could express a whole lot - then again there’s the big issue of making things into a stereotype like you said.

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I find that true for me, but I tend to use different slang words and such to express that before I state what someone’s accent is, but that’s just me.

I read
Where the Crawdads Sing
and the characters’ accents are written out in dialogue.

At first, it was really, really, really hard for me to imagine what it sounded like. I also felt like by reading it in the way it sounded to me, I was actually being offensive :sweat_smile: I did eventually figure it out and eventually the story lost a lot of dialogue because of the isolated nature of the MC.

Anyway, I LOVE accents. Any accent. I like listening to them. It’s fascinating to me.
I watched this YouTube series about American accents and how they came to be. I never realized how much of the immigration history in the US had to do with accents. Made me rethink the languages and accents in my fantasy world.

the video

It’s two parts. I suggest watching them both.

As for written accents…well, it’s a style choice, I think. You can do it in dialogue like Where the Crawdads Sing, or imply that a character has an accent by describing it in the narration. For reading purposes, as long as it’s readable and understandable, written or described, either way is fine with me.

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I resonate! I’ve felt that way before and usually would make a mental note to unpack that later because it could be a stereotype or bias I don’t know I have and I really try to be cognizant of those things especially because of what I do for work. I think it goes back to what Johnny said earlier about media and television giving lots of false perceptions of what a particular accent is like, so lots of people use what they know/heard to make the story make sense to them.

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I have stated what accent someone uses, for comic effect, but generally I use contraction, idoms, or more and less complicated language to portray accents. Especially in dialouge it can be effective.

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I’ve put it in to make things fun for me.

from Old Soul

“Doc sez u ain’t hurt dat têté dur of yours, seagull.”

“Shit…I lost her.” The comfort of the family accent would hide most her agony, make it easier to slide back into old relationships…hopefully. “It’s cold cold, Jo. Look, I gots de frissons, me.”

“I know. Dat couillion had me callin’ Mem up heah ta find dat dingy broad.”

“Don’ tell me Mawmaw is commin’. Dis pack can’t handle me, forget an Oracle. She da reason dey say dat Rougarous bite chil’ren toes!”

“Keeyaw, dat sayin’ is old old, Mem is younger. But she refused. Said it’s too cold up heah. And you don’ need her. Dat woman was folle. A demon sent dat one back and de goddess sifted her from de trash.”

“I can’t shift. She wasn’t dat much a burden, Joe.”

“Who had de dumb idea ta tell him, den?”

“She did. Dat woman backed ouddah her promise to de Goddess for a man dat moved on and wouldn’ understan’.”

“I don’ tink dat mate’o yaws understood, eidah.”

“No, I don’t.” Trace decided to open the curtain, exposing the more familiar side of the medic’s office. “I barely understood your conversation, forget last night. Gary said you were safe to get up, by the way.”

“Well, I guess I need to go to your office and pull up some files.”

“Da fuq? Accent, mon belle petit fille.”

“Did he just call…”

“Trace, we’re cousins.”

" 'Brasse mon chou, Mon amie." Joe crossed his arms and glared at the Alpha. “She’s a classic French wolf…well, without the wolf. I’m just pissed my pretty girl dropped our accent so fast.”

Trace eyed the shorter man. “Don’t you have a mate?”

“When did that happen?” The question threw Eva for a loop.

Joe addressed his cousin, ignoring Trace. “Baw, we’re going to have linebackers for chiots, sha.”

The Alpha rolled his eyes. “It was Lethe.”

“Fuck.” Eva rubbed her face trying to imagine getting along with the girl.

Joseph Wayne squinted at his cousin. “What you did?”

“Broke her arm for suggesting a challenge.” Eva sat up and stretched. “Now I’d have to majorly cheat to win jack.”

“Like that time you rigged the whole training field with snares to keep the just turned horndogs busy? Or the time you stuck a bear trap in Mem’s cushions and got my hide tanned for dat? Sheet, you a menace and just damned lucky that everyone’s gentle wit a seagull.”

“That’s going to be harder to guarantee, here. We ah, didn’t start off well.”

“Weh, start no tracas, be no tracas.” Joseph stood to leave and let the two of them to sort each other out. “Time to grow up…but I’ve been told I’m to stay with you 'cuz dat folle be couillion. … You know Clotilde, if she wears high heels, her boobs make good earmuffs.”

“Fuck, Joe…I don’t need to know that.”

Trace held out his hand and helped Eva up. “Heck, I don’t want to even see that.”

An accent, for me, means I know someone can cook or if I aint touching tbeir food. Lol

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I love going down a Google rabbit hole to find local words and slang, haha.

South African accents are…something else :drooling_face:

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I need to listen again but I’ve heard they’re pretty smooth accents, haha. Caribbean accents, too - like Jamaica.

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The most effective uses of accents I’ve come across is when they’re grounded in a geographical area or social class. Like Cockney, Scots, Irish and Trinidadian Creole. It adds to the life worlds of characters.

I personally wouldn’t include it just because it sounds/looks nice or for the :sparkles: quirky :sparkles: vibes. It needs to be deeper than that.

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That’s fair. Some people I ask say it’s a stylistic choice and others say it adds “flavor” (authenticity) to the writing. I love to read stories set in my state and cities because I’ll be like yep that author did their research this sounds legit, haha.

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