Do You Write Truthfully?

Coming from Northern Ireland I have an accent, just like we all have accents. It’s not the broadest of accents. While I work in Belfast, I’m a bit of a country boy having been raised in the market town of Omagh in the west of the country. So basically my accent is a bit of a hybrid. My mother claims I have a city accent whereas my work colleagues maintain I have a rural twang.

This has been a bit of a challenge for me when writing the novel. A few of the characters have strong Belfast dialects so I’m trying to reflect that in some of the slang they use; without making it impenetrable for non Irish readers. An example is the word ‘wee’. In Northern Ireland we prefix everything with ‘wee’ no matter what its shape or size.

‘Would you like a wee cup of tea?’

‘Did you see that wee cruise liner that has just docked?’

‘What about that wee direct nuclear strike the other night?’

Wee….I mean we….have our own colloquialisms just like every region or state does. Accents are slippery beasts. I have known people go to university in Scotland and come back home after a term with thick Glaswegian brogues. Adversely, other folk emigrate to the other side of the world and, thirty years later, still retain their original dialects. Accents define us, yet why then are some of us so keen to ditch them?

Some argue that retaining our accents in foreign climes evidences a strong personality. We are comfortable with who we are and, therefore, have no desire to conform to those around us. We don’t mind standing out or attracting attention. Others are less confident and, be it consciously or unconsciously, need to merge with their new environments in order to feel included and safe.

I fear I fall into the latter camp. I would be that idiot who returns from a month in Australia sounding like Crocodile Dundee. I’ve spent most of my life a needy, neurotic mess. I craved popularity and being liked to the extent that everything else was jettisoned in the process, be that accent, beliefs or ethics. I was a cultural chameleon, a master of malleability. Which got me into all sorts of trouble.

It got to the stage where even I didn’t know who I was. I would look in the mirror in the morning and shake my head in disbelief at the man I had become. My moral compass was permanently spinning out of control. I kept a private journal and it was as if I was writing about a different person most days. I disgusted myself and was my own biggest critic. I led a quadruple life as opposed to a double one.

The penny finally dropped when it was pointed out to me that my true voice was in my writing. In a perverse twist I discovered that, whereas I lived a lie, I couldn’t write anything but the truth. Even if my toes cringed in embarrassment and shame as I did so, I knew no other way. The evolution of A Fractured Faith lay within this revelation. It had been staring me in the face all along.

The Truth is in the Word.

Some bloggers express difficulty in writing about what is really going on, or has gone on, in their lives. I understand how difficult that can be. But today’s blog is all about being yourself no matter what your circumstances or surroundings. We all need an anchor when buffeted by daily storms. Let your anchor be your writing and the rest will follow. Now I’m away for a wee five mile run.

Do you read blogs in other accents?

What words or expressions are unique to your dialect?

Do you speak and write the truth?

87 thoughts on “Do You Write Truthfully?

Add yours

  1. My father served in the US Army so we traveled with him all over the world from birth, settling back in the states when I was about twelve years old. My extended family said my sister and I had accents, which morphed over the years into a blend that doesn’t link us to anywhere geographically. But, we developed a pretty good ear for others’ accents.

    I read a lot of books set in other countries and tend to hear the narrators’ with accents. When I learned you lived in Northern Ireland, I heard your voice with an accent. It’s pretty distinctive!!

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  2. One of my dearest friends lives down in Maryland in the US and I am up in Manitoba Canada and we always argue as to who has the accent. Even here there are differences in dialect and accents depending on which province you were born in and areas of the province. It is always fun when I talk to people who have accents and finding out where they are from. 🙂

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  3. Lol, my mom is in love with all accents from the British Isles, be it Irish, Scottish, English… she has said she would love to hear you talk. Sorry but I read your posts with an American accent 😂
    Around here, it’s pretty much regular American with a touch of Southern. So there are some y’alls, but relatively few.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I got it! I’m reading chapter one. It is so good so far, and I’m not just saying that! I was concerned in the back of my mind, like, if it’s terrible, what can I say!? But I have no worries. Right off reading it I knew it was good.

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  4. Ooooo I love this post! Accents are among my favourite things. Being a Brummie (pronounced Brum-aay’!) I not only speak with that accent, but it becomes thicker/thinner(?) depending on who I’m conversing with. My husband is from Zimbabwe and has a fabulous accent. Our children…well it’s interesting! Calls of ‘mumay’ followed by words in Zim accent. Brilliant.
    I also have a terrible habit of replying to whoever I’m talking with in their accent. This comes from my love of accents and how much I adore the differences in how we all speak. It can, however, require some explaining as therefore I’m trying to curb the wee habit.

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  5. Interesting observation. I’m reminded of the main character in the film “Runaway Bride,” who always adapted to the tastes of whoever she was dating -even how they liked their eggs.

    I’m definitely in that camp, and you’ve given me fodder for a lengthier blog post later.

    Enjoy your run.

    Would you really say “wee marathon?”

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      1. Scrambled and dead dead dead.
        Unlike that character, I have no trouble ordering the eggs I like. I do try to please everyone, which makes some situations difficult -including, as I said, knowing what is really me.

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  6. No I tend to read everything with the same voice in my head. New Zealand has heaps of it’s own slang. I try to be truthful when it comes to poetry, or what’s going on in my life. Not so important for fiction…

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  7. Growing up, I was a HUGE fan of Brian Jacques work and he always had his characters speaking in a variety of English and Scottish accents. Which, being an American with a hybrid accent (Texan slow drawl and East Tennessee Appalachian, from listening to my mother and her kinfolk growing up), it was REALLY hard for me to imitate them later on in life when I read the books outloud to my son.

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      1. Maybe when I finish my read-through of all of Phillipa Gregory’s Cousins’ War/Tudor era novels.

        I love British TV and it’s only come in handy ONE time. I was working at the mall and these guys came up to order..something. I don’t remember what. I just remember they had very broad Scottish accents and my coworker was like, “I’m sorry. I don’t understand you.” I listened for a moment as they tried to explain what they wanted and then I was all “Move over. I’ll take care of this.” because I sort of understood what they wanted even though their accents were so freaking broad.

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  8. This is such an important reminder, FracturedFaith. Thank you. I find that my writing is an anchor for me as well and that I am always truthful in my writing. I think this is why blogging is so important to me. And helpful. It allows me to express what is really going on inside me, and it gives me the opportunity to reflect about whether the rest of my life is really matching up to what I express in my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. While I write from a place of authenticity, I am not sure my Canadian slang is in there, eh?! I love languages and accents (I am English speaking but educated in Montreal, Quebec so my French has a heavy Québécoise accent.)

    My writing got me through cancer and more!
    bbbbbbbbbbbb

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  10. Great points. I can relate to wanting to fit in and then being able to write more truthfully than living.

    Isn’t one of the signs that people are fabricating–that they all say the exact same thing in recalling an event??

    I think of the gospel accounts; each one has its own voice and tone and some talk of events and details the others do not. To me, that makes it more truth filled and authentic.

    A bit like finding your own voice in writing; and life. Everyone being the exact same seems dishonest.

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  11. I’m from an area that has no strong accent. I’ve read about “British newscaster” standard. We’d be the equivalent of American newscaster standard, if such a thing exists. People usually buy that I’m from wherever I live simply because accents seem to float off of me. I guess you can’t have one if you grew up in a region known for not having much of a definable one.

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  12. I write my blogs with North American (US) English spelling, but the settings and subjects of my fiction make it feel more natural for me to use Commonwealth English spelling conventions.

    In writing Irish Firebrands, I studied the Hiberno-English used by newspaper columnists and what I heard in online television broadcast audio and video, and stayed away from the old-fashioned, stereotypical “stage Irish.”

    Carefully rationed dialect can add a bit of flavor to the setting, but in itself, dialect adds nothing to character or plot development, and most attempts to transcribe a strong accent turn out to be illegible. For example, many writers seem to feel it’s obligatory to render the brogue of a Scottish person in the thickest dialect imaginable. At best, the reader might slow down and try to sound things out; at worst, the horrific spelling makes it look as if the character spewed haggis all over the page. Many modern readers will skip over such messy passages, which means they miss important information that may be in that piece of dialogue.

    As Artists, our primary artistic goal is to communicate. We need to avoid causing communication blocks for our readers.

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  13. My experience regarding my own accent was odd. I was raised in Chicagoland, which means that having lived all my early life in the country an hour north of Chicago, I don’t have the “city” accent with which many residents of my birthplace speak. I developed the more generic upper-Midwest accent, although that also tends towards rapid speech. I left home at age 20, and lived for many years in different parts of the world. After living for several years in the southern USA, I thought I’d acquired a Southern drawl, but I found out otherwise when I was working as a Registered Nurse at a home-care nursing agency. I was sent out to visit a new patient, and after I’d provided nursing care and returned to the office, my supervisor told me she had received the following complaint from the patient’s family member: “Don’t you dare send that Yankee woman back here!”

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  14. Well, I wasn’t reading this in anything but my own voice, until I came to the “wee”… And then when I about fell off my chair laughing, and read it out loud to my husband, I developed some strange Irish inspired accent, that had him falling off his chair.

    I’m told I have “no accent” – I’ve lived around the US enough to sort of have the colloquialisms of half the country. I also know that if I am very tired, I sound very KS – “I’m gunna meet mah LAWyur in the plahzah fur a Cuurs beer.” I try not to return to that.

    As for honesty – I shoot for it. It does me no good to write half truths and lies, or fiction (unless labelled as such) when the goal is sanity.

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  15. Just yesterday I was talking to myself about this (yes I am one of those weirdos who do this often😂). I am Nigerian. I was born and raised there. Only moved here 9years ago. My Nigerian accent is there with me and very strong. When I just moved here I was a bit insecure about it and I found myself trying to copy the English accent. Now I’m a lot comfortable and actually love my accent. My kids who were all born here often correct me when I say certain things and I remind them that I am Nigerian and I can’t quite twist my tongue to make certain words sound like theirs😂. I actually said to myself yesterday that I don’t want to ever loose my accent as it’s a part of who I am.😊

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  16. I am from New Hampshire in the northeastern US but went to college in Florida. Immense culture shock ensued. I had never heard a true Southern American accent in real life until that point and kept stifling giggles as I met Southerners. I never could bring myself to date one because I couldn’t imagine hearing that accent for the rest of my life! My family is fairly accent-free. Some southern Illinoisians have a bit of a Southern accent; but there are those that simply sound more rural. It’s more than a wee bit interesting!

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      1. I would love to visit the Pacific Northwest someday, perhaps after kids are gone…my husband and I would love to photograph that area. And if I had met someone with an accent from the UK area, my husband might not have been my husband! Those lovely accents are partially why I’m addicted to various BBC and PBS shows.😁

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  17. I love the use of wee 😄 I completely struggle to read blogs in other accents and would actually love to hear what all my bloggers sound like! Until then I’m going to continue reading blogs in my own voice, I’ve been told an East Anglian accent with a slight Essex twang which comes out more when I’m either in Essex or have had a few too many drinks! 😄

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  18. That’s such an interesting concept. I love accents. My dad and grandparents immigrated from Denmark in the 50s. I loved their accents. As a northern Californian, I don’t think I have an accent (although I have a colorful vocabulary 😏). We in CA. are known for vocal fry and up speak, sounds that are truly appalling…. I always write truthfully, just limit how much I share.

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      1. Midwestern/Northern American accent. A relative in England said I sounded almost Canadian which is odd to me. I suppose some border Canadian/Americans sound the same since we’re so close to each other but that’s where it ends, I suppose.

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          1. 😂 maybe. Some of us are similar than we care to admit. My dad liked to irritate my mom by calling her Irish. We all get so defensive about where we come from.

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  19. Hello Stephen and Fionnuala! Blessings to you!

    I was born in Illinois, grew up in Colorado, then went back to Illinois for High School, then back to Colorado for college and have lived here ever since. The kids at school in Illinois said I had an accent, but people from Colorado don’t have much of an accent. I think it was because my accent is mixed because my parents grew up in the Midwest. My wife is from Anchorage, AK and she thinks I say “Chicago” funny. My family in west central Illinois can sound kind of country, but not in a southern way. More of a Midwest Mississippi River area sound. Seems like the hotter and more humid it gets going south, the thicker the southern accent gets!

    By the way, my ancestors are from County Cork! One of my ancestors came over to America from Ireland and he ended up marrying a Native American Princess! That is how I eventually ended up here on earth! It is one of my dreams to visit Ireland someday. My Uncle and Aunt have been there several times. They kissed the Blarney stone and everything!

    God bless your whole family!

    Ryan Callahan
    http://www.AuthorRyanC.com

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    1. Hi Ryan. Good to connect with you. You certainly have an interesting family tree. Alaska is a dream destination of mine. I would love to go on a cruise up there but Fionnuala would prefer somewhere much hotter. If you ever make it to Ireland be sure to let us know. Keep in touch 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Stephen, God bless you guys! Same to you–if you are ever in Denver, Colorado, please let me know! I will grill you guys the best organic free range bison burger you’ve ever had! Tell Fionnuala that Alaska is absolutely beautiful in the summer! We have caught huge halibut and king salmon up there! The cruises are phenomenal! She will love it! Slainte!!!

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  20. I don’t know about an accent, though I have stumbled across a few words in a blog that has sent me scurrying for the dictionary.

    I don’t have an accent, not at all, and it’s because it’s how I taught myself to speak. You see, I tend to be a stutterer. As a child, we could afford speech therapists (I don’t even know if they existed back then), so in an effort not to sound stupid, I listened to and began imitating the FM radio DJs. Worked fine. I still stutter when I get excited about something, but people say I have a very pleasant, easy to understand voice.

    Now, words that are unique. In the area I was raised, it’s not at all uncommon to have people use some interesting words. An example, “Weoans”, or “Youans”. Don’t ask where they came from. Wouldn’t it be easier to say just “We” and “You”. I suspect it was an attempt at making those words plural. I haven’t a clue beyond that.

    It’s also not at all unusual to ask something in English for example, and get the answer in Spanish, even if it’s not your native tongue. Another example, someone might ask where this is, and the answer would be “no se” which means “Don’t know”.

    As for writing the truth. The biggest issue I’ve got is a lot of my characters talk like me. I’d like to think I’m getting better with it. For example, I have a character whose nickname is Zorro. Zorro is a burnout, too much dope, too much booze, and may or may into be insane. He’s based on a real person, and I[‘ve been tryin g to capture the way he talked. Think taking the speech of Latino Gang member from East LA, and mix it with the lingo of a college professor. Very hard to catch.

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  21. I have found that it appears to be, that all that a person is, is tied to speaking and how we enjoy using certain strings of words. Sometimes it’s a dilemma, especially when trying to express yourself in something that is not your mother-tongue.

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  22. Amen-Amein ❤ ❤ ❤

    GOD BLESS ALL my Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Your Families and Friends!!

    I am Pro-Israel-Yisrael / Pro-Christian and Jewish People who STAND with the Holy Land of Israel-Yisrael and our Judeo-Christian Nation United States of America / Pro-Zionism / PRO-LIFE!!

    Our ONE True GOD’S LOVE 💕💜 is ETERNAL THROUGH HIS SON Christ-MESSIAH Jesus-Yeshua for Today and Everyday Forevermore!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Christ-MESSIAH Jesus-Yeshua, because HE LOVED 💜💕 EVERYONE FIRST!!

    Love 💕 Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

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  23. Growing up we moved a lot. I became the professional new kid in school. From a young age, I learned how to mimic those around me enough to fit in. This meant changing the slang I used, the music I listened to, the stores I shopped at. All of this is like changing an accent. It has always been easy for me to do this. Now, as an adult, I still often times find myself doing the same thing in social situations. Yes, it is about survival.

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