Run by the owner of the equally geeky Sailor Moon Tumblr, Jungle Garden Senshi.
Unfortunately, when I received my Bachelor’s degree in English, my ass was superglued to the saddle of a high fucking horse.
I literally cannot get...
themirage-prismatic asked you:
I was wondering if you had any advice on creating slang for another world? (in this case, Earth in the...
Writers shouldn’t be afraid to have mistakes in dialogue. Have you ever really listened to someone talk? People make mistakes all the time. I myself have a habit of saying “anyways” rather than the correct “anyway.” If we add these type of mistakes to character’s speech, it gives them more character. I’ll often use things I mess up in real life. For example, I was originally under the impression that “rich kid oblige” meant the entitlement that rich kids sometimes have. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite meaning. If you’re rich, it’s your obligation to do things for those who are less fortunate than you. But I decided to have one of my characters use “rich kid oblige” to mean the former (and incorrect) definition anyway. Why? Because not everyone is an English major/writer who looks up the definition of words before using them. The mistakes a character makes in their speech can tell you just as much about them as the things they say correctly (and if they never make these kinds of mistakes, it’s equally telling.) As long as the context makes it clear that the character isn’t using the word correctly, these kind of mistakes can add a lot to your writing.
I feel like anyone who double majors in English and linguistics must spend a lot of time feeling very conflicted.
Trying to turn my circadian rhythm around and my dad just yelled at me for not waking up when my alarm went off, saying that I trained my brain to ignore my alarm. How the hell would you even do that!? Why would you do that? You think I want to not be able to wake up in the morning? I’m doing my best here!
I think that asking someone what their “view” is of literature is probably not the right thing to ask. Views are what you have on politics, philosophy, and religion; not so much on literature. But I guess my view on Latin American literature is that it’s important and inspiring, and also that there is not enough of it to be found in most bookstores. I view it as annoying that in some places, you’ll only find it on two shelves in the specially marked section, in the back, next to the two-shelf LGBT section and the two-shelf African-American section and the two-shelf Asian-American section and so forth. Most of my viewing of Latin American authors is done via the Internet or their author photos on the dust jackets.
Julia Alvarez (In the Time of the Butterflies), Sandra Cisneros (The House on Mango Street), Pablo Neruda (tons of poetry), Francisco Hinojosa (Hectic Ethics), Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits), and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude) are the ones I have on my bookshelf. Here is a list of books Goodreads came up with to cover for my appalling lack.
Unfortunately, I am also lacking in Latin American author advice. Anyone have any books or articles I could add?
About specially marked sections in bookstores, I kind of hate that they exist, or at least that they have to exist. Unfortunately, the world we live in is one where people aren’t always exposed to authors with diverse backgrounds unless they go in looking for books that are specifically by those authors, but ideally, I think books should be judged by their content alone. That’s not to say that there isn’t value in seeing how an author’s background affects their writing, but I think that’s something you should only do after looking at the book’s content. I don’t know, I just hate the idea that, if I’m ever published, I might get thrown into some sort of “American Women Writers” class (not that I really think there’s much of a chance anything I write will ever be taught in a university) or that the fact that it was written by a woman might overshadow my actual text. I much prefer when books are categorized by theme or genre rather than by the nationality or sex of the person who wrote them.
Anyway, this isn’t really directed at the question (since I don’t really think that it’s wrong to seek out books based on the race or nationality of the author, just that it shouldn’t be the only consideration) or the answer to the question, since I think it shares a similar sense of disappointment that books by Latin Americans are in a special section rather than dispersed throughout the bookstore. Reading this just reminded me of one of my frustrations and fears about writing and books.
Body language is funny. In Japan, if you want to show you’re paying attention to people, you nod frequently as they talk and you might interject a “un” or “nn” every so often. If you don’t use a certain amount of this “active listening”, it can come across as being inattentive. Whereas, in America, if you nod too often, people often think that you’re uninterested. It can give the impression that you know all the information they’re sharing and you just want to say, “Yeah, yeah, let’s get this over with, I have other things to do.”
Another example of complete opposites in relation to how body language is interpreted is with eye contact. Too much eye contact is seen as rude in many Asian cultures, so after initial eye contact, it’s better to focus on a more neutral point like the speaker’s neck. Whereas in America, if someone has no eye contact, it gives the impression that they are being disrespectful, weak-willed, or shifty. Cultural differences are interesting, aren’t they?
The thing I hate about slang dictionaries is that they very rarely give enough detail. Where is the slang used? By what subgroup? When was it used? I mean, the way nerds (and even among nerds, there are a ton of different subcultures) and gangsters and fashionistas and etc. talk are all very different from each other. Slang also varies a lot by region. Here on the West Coast, you might say that something cool was “totally wicked”, but on the East Coast, wicked is used as an adverb, not an adjective, so something is “wicked cool.” (Even though I was familiar with wicked, the first time I heard it used in New England I was totally weirded out by it because the way they use it is so different.) This is equally true of slang in other languages. The terms used by yakuza and gyaru are totally different, so “Japanese Slang” basically means nothing. (And good luck trying to find slang for more obscure groups, like bosozoku.) And then there’s the question of when. I understand this can be difficult to quantify with slang as, by it’s very nature, it’s always changing, but I know for a fact that no one uses tubular anymore and I have seen far too many people who are, as far as I can tell, completely serious in saying that using tubular makes you sound like an actual Californian and not a parody of one. And people reblogging that advice with no idea that it makes an Oregonian, much less an actual Californian, want to throw their monitor across the room. (I just really hate that post, okay? I could write a whole novel about all the things about the slang in that post that are rage inducing.)
It’s just so frustrating. I want to be able to make my dialogue sound authentic, but I’m not sure where to go for resources. Urban dictionary works just fine if you’re looking up a word you heard that you don’t understand, but it’s pretty worthless if you’re wanting to find terms to use in your writing.
Does anyone have any suggestions of places I might find the type of information I want?