Discussion Accents in the EU

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by windu4, Oct 2, 2013.

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  1. windu4

    windu4 Jedi Master star 4

    May 15, 2008
    So I'm working on a project and I decided to use Fenn Shysa as a focal point for the story I'm currently working on. However, I remember from reading Shadows of Mindor that Fenn (I believe) has quite the accent. This has got me thinking about other aliens/characters that adopt Basic as a different language. Or even other human characters who speak Basic with an accent. How do you guys (if you do) manage accents in your stories? Do you use America/Britain/Germany/etc etc as bases for how you alter accents or do you change it randomly? Or do you even bother at all?

    (This would be an awesome discussion but I also need help figuring out what Fenn Shysa's accent is so I don't end up butchering him for any potential readers.)
  2. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    I don't bother if the accent isn't changing the sound of the words too much. I may say, "Moff Tarkin spoke in a crisp Coruscanti accent." But I wouldn't be able to depict that in the writing otherwise. If the accent changes the sound of the word dramatically, like Saba and her hissing, then I would try to write it out a bit. To be honest, I have stopped reading fanfiction where I had to concentrate and decipher what the character is saying because it is written with a thick accent, or a horrible stutter, or it is Yoda doing a long speech. If the speech is supposed to be almost intelligible then treat it like the person is speaking non-basic. Sort of how Han lets the reader know what Chewie is saying.
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  3. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 4, 2011
    If I mention accents, they're usually done in the dialogue tags. Sometimes, I'll write out a dialect and I have given one-off characters various vocal nuances and speech patterns, but I try to avoid writing out the accent phonetically. Becahz dat cin cahz sum pwroblems when yowah readin a kahricktahz dialahg. :p
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  4. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    I might mention a character has an accent in the narrative, but not put it in the dialogue, unless it's someone like Saba and she has like 3 lines in an entire fic. Otherwise it's distracting and confusing. In my first fic I made my main character an original species that pronounced her J's like Z’s and had an accent influenced by a Jamaica accent. It just turned out to be more work for me as the writer, and for the readers. I think about character's origins when selecting the words I use. For example, Palpatine is going to sound much more educated than Han Solo, but it would be pretty much impossible to put their accents in their dialogue.
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  5. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    May 11, 2011
    I've only ever written out accents phonetically if a character has a particularly heavy one, and even then if he's only a bit player that also adds flavor to a scene. I also tend to let the reader choose a voice pattern, avoiding mentioning specific patterns unless it is relevant to the story I'm trying to tell. For example, in The Great Leap Forward, I mention two of the protagonists speaking with "archaic" accents because they're from four thousand years in the past (language and speech patterns can change a lot in that span of time).

    So in short, minimal is maximal.
  6. VanishingReality

    VanishingReality Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 21, 2013
    You can break it down however you want. I need to think about how a character 'sounds' like, to write convincing dialogue for them. But I don't mention it in the story at all, I agree that's for the reader to decide. I feel like "Outer rim" accents mentioned in Mindor would be like vaguely southern American accents for the likes of Luke and Callista who live on farms. They are basically "casual" or informal ways of speaking. Coruscant accents are British as shown in the movie, have a more "formal" way of speaking.

    For some reason, I give Talon Karrde a Spanish accent. I just think it's cool. Okay, maybe I do it randomly.
  7. Jabari

    Jabari Jedi Master star 1

    Jun 25, 2007
    Yes, less is usually more as far as accents go. Unless the author is very good at it, a really thick accent gets obnoxious to read, especially if there's more than one character with a thick accent. You can still get the flavor of someone speaking a non-native language by their word order and usage, or by occasionally throwing in a foreign word.

    For example, a Spaniard I know would say this tongue twister like this: "Fussy Wassy wass a burr." If you still wanted the flavor of the heavy accent, you can just write out the thickest part: "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a burr." Or, substitute words, perhaps they need a moment to find the right word: "Fuzzy Wuzzy was an oso. A bear." You can rearrange the grammar a little; you want something that makes technical sense but isn't quite how a native speaker would say it: "Fuzzy Wuzzy, he was a bear."

    If the character's main language is Basic, but they have a "non-standard" accent, all that's really needed is something like "she spoke in a Coruscanti accent". If I were writing a British character, I'd try to copy more of the speech patterns and variant words: "I'll catch you up at the lift" instead of "I'll catch up to you at the elevator", but for Star Wars purposes it's not necessary. As far as I can tell, the Coruscanti-accented characters all have American speech patterns spoken by British actors.
  8. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost star 4

    Jun 3, 2002
    I can honestly say I've never written dialogue with a certain accent in mind.
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