Speaking of accents

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the difficulties involved in writing characters who don’t have the same accent you do. In that post, I wrote that one of my biggest pet peeves is “dialecty” words, which especially seem to plague Scottish characters.

Yesterday, Jane at Dear Author prompted a great discussion on the same topic – go read “Dinna Fash Yerself Lassie (and Other Dialect Crimes)”. Part of the discussion in the comments was about the incredible number of British accents, compared to American ones.

Today a friend forwarded me this video, which is pure genius.

Warning: Contains naughty language. If watching at work, for the love of puppies please wear headphones.

How many of these accents could you write?


  1. The key to writing accents is not to write it exactly the way its said, otherwise its becomes rather overbearing. There’s realism and yet there’s your reader..

    great video!

  2. LOL! that kid is terrific! His American accent was spot on, dude 😀

    Writing accents? Don’t. Just, don’t. It’s is so annoying to read. I gave up on a book that had a terrific premise and swashbuckling hero and all that, b/c I couldn’t take all the “dinna fash y’self lassie” dialogue.

    I think the best way to convey someone is speaking with a foreign accent is to say it — i.e. “He spoke with a heavy French accent…”
    and then switch up the syntax a bit — i.e. “You are coming with me, yes?” But no “zees zoes” etc. Please!

    1. Hi Deb! You’re right – syntax is a great way to show someone’s accent. Not only does it sound more natural, but it’s easier to read.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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