Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Foriegn Language Phrases in Fiction

If you feel the need to include foreign language phrases in your writing, three options are available:

1. The foreign phase can be immediately repeated in the character's or narrator's thoughts as in:
Hola, he shouted.
I turned around wondering while he was saying hello to me.
2. The foreign phrase can be obvious from context as in:
Before the meeting started the scientists bowed and said Konichiwa, to each other.
3. The foreign phase may be used in a way where the literal meaning meaning is optional as in:
When he hit his finger with a hammer, he screamed Merde.
Glossaries should never be employed in short stories. Even novels with glossaries/dictionaries at the end should be written to minimize the need to reference the lexicon. However, in the case of a novel, the reader might invest in learning new vocabulary for a term that might be used dozens of times. Such an investment is excessive for a short story.

The advice for foreign language can be also applied to technical jargon.

It can also be applied to obscure vocabulary.

No comments: