Accents: How Do Ya’ll Say . . .

MC900438068Have you ever read a story where the author used accents? I see it on occasion, and thankfully, nowadays most authors use it sparingly. In CIRCLE OF DANGER, Liam is a secondary character who’s Irish. He’d lived in the U.S. for about ten years, and his accent mostly showed up when he was emotional. So he may say “bloody” when mad or use “me” instead “I” when he’s in a teasing mood. As you can see, I used colloquialism as a way to convey the accent.

No need for abbreviating like people do with Southern accents. Ya’ll un’erstan? That’s just it. Using too many abbreviated words or even slang, can become confusing to the reader and slow down the story. Let them hear the accents in their own mind. One of the tricks to remember is that many accents have rhythms. Sometimes movies can be helpful to get the hang of that.

Everyone in the world has accents. Californians, Oregonians, and Washingtonians claim they don’t. Sorry, but you do. Mostly it’s just the accepted accent for the media. But in the South, we often think some of you sound like a Yankee. HA!

And not all Southerners are hillbillies.

2 thoughts on “Accents: How Do Ya’ll Say . . .

  1. I prefer to “hear’ the accent in my mind, rather than seeing it in print. If there’s a rich description of the character, there’s no need to spell things out phonetically, or otherwise. Like you said, it WILL slow the story down. And, in at least one recent case, I found myself becoming so frustrated that I did not finish reading the book. It felt as if I were “interpreting” rather than reading the words. Great topic.


    1. Thanks, Michelle. I’m so there with you. By the way, one author I know who writes a great Irish accent is JoAnn Ross. OMG! Considering her grandfather (who she lived with along her aunt) was Irish, it makes sense. The rhythm in her books (with Irish characters) is awesome. I swear you can hear it.


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