Good or evil is today’s topic:
Well, that and other languages.
It is no secret that I am obsessed with Italy, the Italian people and especially the Italian language. In fact, my series begins in Italy.
I don’t know where began this obsession, but it’s there, and I use it for my stories among other such things as making friends and sounding sexy when I talk (ok, maybe someday)
The question of the day is how do you incorporate other cultures into your writing without seeming cheesy? Well, research research research… but that isn’t it. TALK TO REAL PEOPLE. Don’t just grab a foreign language dictionary (i.e Italian in my case) and look it up. “Oh this is how they say… [ ]” (fill in the blank) because the truth is, that may not be HOW they say but WHAT they say, and depending on which dialect/area/individual or setting, your WHAT may just in fact turn into a HOW. Or Why?
Take a look at your own language. There are over a million words in the English language and many (most) have alternative meanings (or more than one). What a person learning our language looks up in a dictionary and says may seem completely outlandish to you because 1. it isn’t said anymore, 2. it’s ridiculous, 3. they’re using it out of context or any number of reasons. But hey, they looked it up in the dictionary so it’s right, right? No. So put down that dictionary and get over yourself and talk to real people from these countries, it’s easy enough (sort of) to meet people online nowadays.
And be careful incorporating too much of the language itself into your story. After all, your readers (the majority of, in most cases) speak mainly English, and they’re not looking for a language lesson.
Also keep in mind that not every character speaks the same way- so if you do use a foreign word/phrase/etc, make sure it’s spoken in the right context and appropriately for your character. (For instance, the somewhat formal “Come Stai?” [how are you?] as opposed to the totally informal “Come va?” [what’s up?])
And don’t be afraid to get it wrong, chances are the more you research the more you come to realize what works and what doesn’t. Then, check it with someone native to the language or fluent in it to make sure you’re not about to submit something off-the-charts cheesy 🙂
That’s my say of the day. So?
Bene o male?
Una buona giornata!
p.s. I realize this honestly had nothing to do with good or evil, I just learned the words today and wanted to use them 😉
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