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Language question

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My story takes place in the early 1800s in England. The language was a lot different back then. I want to update the dialogue for today's MG readers. I'll avoid expressions that are common today, but I don't want to make this sound dry or archaic. What do you think? Thanks!
#1 - March 01, 2017, 02:56 PM

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Sounds like a good plan. If you use generic English and avoid modern slangs and references, you should be fine.
#2 - March 02, 2017, 07:09 AM
ROYALLY ENTITLED (inspirational/historical YA) and OOPS-A-DAISY (humorous MG) out now.  http://www.melodydelgado.com/

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Thanks, Melody.
A friend of mine said, "If she checks her Snapchat account on iPhone you may have gone too far. Just saying...."
#3 - March 02, 2017, 07:11 AM

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 :haha
#4 - March 05, 2017, 08:22 PM
Creative blessings to you ~

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There are some old expressions that don't sound old. E.g. you could unfriend someone in the 1600s, find something funky, and trick out a ride too.

Plus there are a lot of expressions that only people over 30 know, like kitty-corner   --  which is archaic to the kids  :paperbag

Have fun with it :)
#5 - March 06, 2017, 10:56 AM
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 10:58 AM by David Wright »

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Very cool, David. And thanks, everyone!
#6 - March 06, 2017, 10:59 AM

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Michelle,

If you haven't already done so, you might want to read YA in that genre. There's a good list here: http://www.historicalnovels.info/Nineteenth-Century-Europe-YA.html but I'm sure you can find many just through a Google search. Even reading excerpts will give you a sense of different ways to handle it.
#7 - March 08, 2017, 09:47 AM
Debut YA Cutting to the Chase, coming February 24.

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I'd embrace some of the language of the early 1800s (or, at least, I wouldn't run from it), especially if the story has humor!

Right now, my son and I are reading a fantastic MG, My Near-Death Adventures by Alison DeCamp. There's nothing like the terminology of an 1895 logging camp to bend us in half with laughter.

Best wishes with however you decide to handle it, Michelle.

 :cheerleader


#8 - March 09, 2017, 01:18 PM

If you're a language nerd like I am, you might like http://www.etymonline.com/
When I was working on a historical set in the early 1800s, I would look there to check the date on when  words I used came into the dictionary. It was nice way to avoid using modern expressions without knowing it. It sounds like you have a good plan to make sure the dialogue is still accessible to modern readers.
#9 - March 09, 2017, 07:13 PM
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You could watch movies set in 1800 England...for research.
#10 - March 10, 2017, 02:44 AM

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Sites such as dictionary dot com, usually show the origin and time period of a word, helps prevent you from using a word that's too new or too old. I just put in the word whereabout which comes up as 1250-1300; Middle English.
#11 - March 13, 2017, 08:14 AM
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I'm coming in a little late on this one, but I love the thread.  Another area of research that could be useful is reading personal narratives from the time period.  You will probably have to update the language a bit, but it could be helpful, and quite fun.  At least for me, which has nothing to do with me being a history geek.
#12 - April 06, 2017, 06:44 AM

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"If she checks her Snapchat account on iPhone you may have gone too far. Just saying...."


I'd embrace some of the language of the early 1800s (or, at least, I wouldn't run from it), especially if the story has humor!

Right now, my son and I are reading a fantastic MG, My Near-Death Adventures by Alison DeCamp. There's nothing like the terminology of an 1895 logging camp to bend us in half with laughter.


Thanks for the laughs.

I have nothing else to add except to agree with the others. I also think a little bit of flavor goes a long way.
#13 - April 06, 2017, 08:06 AM
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Thanks everyone! I just finished the second draft. It's with two writer friends. And then, more rewrites. The good thing is that I'm enjoying it.
#14 - April 06, 2017, 08:13 AM

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Thanks for those links, Austen and Marcia!   :goodthread
#15 - April 07, 2017, 08:57 PM
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