Regency Speak

Rice_LessonsinEnchantment_200x300I have spent the last couple of years writing contemporary mysteries and before that, Victorian romances. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve attempted Regency cant. I have an entire thesaurus of words, but my head simply isn't picking up the speech patterns that allow boxing cant or catty insults the way it used to do. Worse yet, the hero is American, and now I have to wonder how much of Regency-speak an American might use. Or a spinster who spends more time in books than society. Oh, and then there are the Frenchmen and the country folk. . .

I may have unconsciously created this gothic mansion in the middle of nowhere rather than confront Regency society again! Admittedly, I’m not fond of fops and dukes and snobbish misses. Been there, wrote that, read it one too many times. My Muse needs to flit. Castle-g74786fb6e_640

So, I’m sitting here looking at the Regency thesaurus and trying to find ways to insert the expected slang. My hero is already grumpy. There’s a word that carried over into modern language. Calling him a cross patch and saying he’s in high dudgeon sounds bird-witted when he’s shooting bats off the ceiling.

My chemist and accountant are constantly wrangling (a word in UK English since medieval times), and I can’t imagine my  American calling it a row or my spinster saying argufy. Perhaps she might think the hero is in prime twig or in good form but if my very proper maiden lady thinks he’s well-built or broad-shouldered, doesn’t that say the same? Why go the extra mile?

The_American_Soldier_1812And I’m pretty sure my battle-hardened American hero won’t be calling my tart-tongued spinster fetching, out of the common way, or passing fair anytime soon.

So, is the Regency-speak we most associate with Regency romances basically a citified form of speech? How much of this slang would have been in common use? Maybe some of the colorful phrases for drunk: half seas over, in his cups, jug-bitten. . . A lot of that probably emerged from the common folk and young dandies picked it up. Boxing cant most certainly emerged from a lower lifestyle and young rogues adopted it and presumably passed it on to the rest of society. But I’m thinking my spinster will just call the captain a drunkard.

Don’t get me wrong—I like using various types of speech to sharpen character. I’ll eventually bring in some London types, I suppose, although I can’t imagine any proper matrons calling the American a rum touch. Perhaps she’d see him as a caution? Doesn’t eccentric say it better? I do like outside of enough for excessive, though. Maybe I can slip that in.

But I have no handy thesaurus for Americanisms of the Regency era. Once upon a time I knew a lot of slang for cowboys in the wild west, but that was essentially after the Civil War and not the same, even if I could remember it, which I don’t. And while I may be familiar with accents and regionalisms in Soulacroix_Frédéric_-_Expectation contemporary America (notice, I don’t write British contemporaries because that’s a language all its own. I’ve attempted UK characters and know whereof I speak!), I don’t know what accent my American from 1815 might have.

Once upon a time I used to hunt down the speech patterns of various regions of the UK, but I don’t believe anyone but me noticed. And since I’m not exactly designating the specific location of my mystery manor, it hardly seems worth digging up local slang. If I signify uneducated speech by dropping “h’s” and slurring “ing,” will anyone care if that’s correct for an unspecified area of the country?

How much do you noticed slang and accents when you read? Do they add to the tone of a book or just annoy the heck out of you?

180 thoughts on “Regency Speak”

  1. I love love love it when an author attempts the local. Since I’m not “there,” though, the attempt is all I need. If I were a Brit, I’d probably care more about the detail. As long as it’s not over-the-top/too deliberate (e.g., dropping an ‘aitch five times a sentence), I’m happy to be dropped into the scene.

    Reply
  2. I love love love it when an author attempts the local. Since I’m not “there,” though, the attempt is all I need. If I were a Brit, I’d probably care more about the detail. As long as it’s not over-the-top/too deliberate (e.g., dropping an ‘aitch five times a sentence), I’m happy to be dropped into the scene.

    Reply
  3. I love love love it when an author attempts the local. Since I’m not “there,” though, the attempt is all I need. If I were a Brit, I’d probably care more about the detail. As long as it’s not over-the-top/too deliberate (e.g., dropping an ‘aitch five times a sentence), I’m happy to be dropped into the scene.

    Reply
  4. I love love love it when an author attempts the local. Since I’m not “there,” though, the attempt is all I need. If I were a Brit, I’d probably care more about the detail. As long as it’s not over-the-top/too deliberate (e.g., dropping an ‘aitch five times a sentence), I’m happy to be dropped into the scene.

    Reply
  5. I love love love it when an author attempts the local. Since I’m not “there,” though, the attempt is all I need. If I were a Brit, I’d probably care more about the detail. As long as it’s not over-the-top/too deliberate (e.g., dropping an ‘aitch five times a sentence), I’m happy to be dropped into the scene.

    Reply
  6. A bit of accent is just fine but the thing that drives me crazy is when a regency lord swears in American. They had serious blasphemy laws there and no one said Damn like here. They were using Bloody or whatever but not Religious swearing. “I don’t give a Damn.” From Gone With the Wind wouldn’t have happened in Britain. Mark Twain wrote in character and Ambrose Brice but all the American ones I think of are Civil War or later. You might try letter wrings of Andrew Jackson for possible informal vocabulary.

    Reply
  7. A bit of accent is just fine but the thing that drives me crazy is when a regency lord swears in American. They had serious blasphemy laws there and no one said Damn like here. They were using Bloody or whatever but not Religious swearing. “I don’t give a Damn.” From Gone With the Wind wouldn’t have happened in Britain. Mark Twain wrote in character and Ambrose Brice but all the American ones I think of are Civil War or later. You might try letter wrings of Andrew Jackson for possible informal vocabulary.

    Reply
  8. A bit of accent is just fine but the thing that drives me crazy is when a regency lord swears in American. They had serious blasphemy laws there and no one said Damn like here. They were using Bloody or whatever but not Religious swearing. “I don’t give a Damn.” From Gone With the Wind wouldn’t have happened in Britain. Mark Twain wrote in character and Ambrose Brice but all the American ones I think of are Civil War or later. You might try letter wrings of Andrew Jackson for possible informal vocabulary.

    Reply
  9. A bit of accent is just fine but the thing that drives me crazy is when a regency lord swears in American. They had serious blasphemy laws there and no one said Damn like here. They were using Bloody or whatever but not Religious swearing. “I don’t give a Damn.” From Gone With the Wind wouldn’t have happened in Britain. Mark Twain wrote in character and Ambrose Brice but all the American ones I think of are Civil War or later. You might try letter wrings of Andrew Jackson for possible informal vocabulary.

    Reply
  10. A bit of accent is just fine but the thing that drives me crazy is when a regency lord swears in American. They had serious blasphemy laws there and no one said Damn like here. They were using Bloody or whatever but not Religious swearing. “I don’t give a Damn.” From Gone With the Wind wouldn’t have happened in Britain. Mark Twain wrote in character and Ambrose Brice but all the American ones I think of are Civil War or later. You might try letter wrings of Andrew Jackson for possible informal vocabulary.

    Reply
  11. For an American you would definitely need to establish the state or at least the region in the US. Up until TV became ubiquitous for everyone including toddlers learning to speak, regional accents were quite different. My mother, from the South, for example, called Sears on the phone to get tires for her car. She was sent to the menswear department. One mother we knew who had moved from the South to California received a note from her child’s primary school teacher urging the mother to take the child to a speech therapist because no one could understand what the child was saying. When the mother, perplexed, spoke to the teacher personally, the teacher realized where the “strange speech came from.” Other regions had accents and slang particular to them. This sadly is much less prevalent because Television and radio have spread a standardized American speech. For your American, establish his origin and then try to find fiction about the period, preferably written during the period.

    Reply
  12. For an American you would definitely need to establish the state or at least the region in the US. Up until TV became ubiquitous for everyone including toddlers learning to speak, regional accents were quite different. My mother, from the South, for example, called Sears on the phone to get tires for her car. She was sent to the menswear department. One mother we knew who had moved from the South to California received a note from her child’s primary school teacher urging the mother to take the child to a speech therapist because no one could understand what the child was saying. When the mother, perplexed, spoke to the teacher personally, the teacher realized where the “strange speech came from.” Other regions had accents and slang particular to them. This sadly is much less prevalent because Television and radio have spread a standardized American speech. For your American, establish his origin and then try to find fiction about the period, preferably written during the period.

    Reply
  13. For an American you would definitely need to establish the state or at least the region in the US. Up until TV became ubiquitous for everyone including toddlers learning to speak, regional accents were quite different. My mother, from the South, for example, called Sears on the phone to get tires for her car. She was sent to the menswear department. One mother we knew who had moved from the South to California received a note from her child’s primary school teacher urging the mother to take the child to a speech therapist because no one could understand what the child was saying. When the mother, perplexed, spoke to the teacher personally, the teacher realized where the “strange speech came from.” Other regions had accents and slang particular to them. This sadly is much less prevalent because Television and radio have spread a standardized American speech. For your American, establish his origin and then try to find fiction about the period, preferably written during the period.

    Reply
  14. For an American you would definitely need to establish the state or at least the region in the US. Up until TV became ubiquitous for everyone including toddlers learning to speak, regional accents were quite different. My mother, from the South, for example, called Sears on the phone to get tires for her car. She was sent to the menswear department. One mother we knew who had moved from the South to California received a note from her child’s primary school teacher urging the mother to take the child to a speech therapist because no one could understand what the child was saying. When the mother, perplexed, spoke to the teacher personally, the teacher realized where the “strange speech came from.” Other regions had accents and slang particular to them. This sadly is much less prevalent because Television and radio have spread a standardized American speech. For your American, establish his origin and then try to find fiction about the period, preferably written during the period.

    Reply
  15. For an American you would definitely need to establish the state or at least the region in the US. Up until TV became ubiquitous for everyone including toddlers learning to speak, regional accents were quite different. My mother, from the South, for example, called Sears on the phone to get tires for her car. She was sent to the menswear department. One mother we knew who had moved from the South to California received a note from her child’s primary school teacher urging the mother to take the child to a speech therapist because no one could understand what the child was saying. When the mother, perplexed, spoke to the teacher personally, the teacher realized where the “strange speech came from.” Other regions had accents and slang particular to them. This sadly is much less prevalent because Television and radio have spread a standardized American speech. For your American, establish his origin and then try to find fiction about the period, preferably written during the period.

    Reply
  16. Pat-I do enjoy slang, if it’s done well, whatever the century. I became aware of Regency cant when I immersed myself in my first recency novel, Georgette Heyer’s The Devil’s Cub. I enjoy slang where it’s appropriate to the genre. I don’t enjoy being pulled out of the fabric of a story by slang that turns out to be an anachronism. I also have to admit that I’m often a sponge when it comes to recency slang. Bits often find their way into my speech. I’m all at “sixes and sevens” just thinking about it. Thanks for a fun column!

    Reply
  17. Pat-I do enjoy slang, if it’s done well, whatever the century. I became aware of Regency cant when I immersed myself in my first recency novel, Georgette Heyer’s The Devil’s Cub. I enjoy slang where it’s appropriate to the genre. I don’t enjoy being pulled out of the fabric of a story by slang that turns out to be an anachronism. I also have to admit that I’m often a sponge when it comes to recency slang. Bits often find their way into my speech. I’m all at “sixes and sevens” just thinking about it. Thanks for a fun column!

    Reply
  18. Pat-I do enjoy slang, if it’s done well, whatever the century. I became aware of Regency cant when I immersed myself in my first recency novel, Georgette Heyer’s The Devil’s Cub. I enjoy slang where it’s appropriate to the genre. I don’t enjoy being pulled out of the fabric of a story by slang that turns out to be an anachronism. I also have to admit that I’m often a sponge when it comes to recency slang. Bits often find their way into my speech. I’m all at “sixes and sevens” just thinking about it. Thanks for a fun column!

    Reply
  19. Pat-I do enjoy slang, if it’s done well, whatever the century. I became aware of Regency cant when I immersed myself in my first recency novel, Georgette Heyer’s The Devil’s Cub. I enjoy slang where it’s appropriate to the genre. I don’t enjoy being pulled out of the fabric of a story by slang that turns out to be an anachronism. I also have to admit that I’m often a sponge when it comes to recency slang. Bits often find their way into my speech. I’m all at “sixes and sevens” just thinking about it. Thanks for a fun column!

    Reply
  20. Pat-I do enjoy slang, if it’s done well, whatever the century. I became aware of Regency cant when I immersed myself in my first recency novel, Georgette Heyer’s The Devil’s Cub. I enjoy slang where it’s appropriate to the genre. I don’t enjoy being pulled out of the fabric of a story by slang that turns out to be an anachronism. I also have to admit that I’m often a sponge when it comes to recency slang. Bits often find their way into my speech. I’m all at “sixes and sevens” just thinking about it. Thanks for a fun column!

    Reply
  21. Accents are a good way to indicate a character’s social status or place of origin. My pet peeve in historical novels is the glaring use of anachronisms. If a character in a Regency novel says “okay”, I probably won’t read the rest of the book. Recently, I read a Regency where one character described another character’s mental state using mid-20th-century psychiatric terminology.
    Note to authors: Research absolutely everything your characters might think, say or use in the world you create for them. And please get an editor who has a background in something beyond a BA in teaching English.

    Reply
  22. Accents are a good way to indicate a character’s social status or place of origin. My pet peeve in historical novels is the glaring use of anachronisms. If a character in a Regency novel says “okay”, I probably won’t read the rest of the book. Recently, I read a Regency where one character described another character’s mental state using mid-20th-century psychiatric terminology.
    Note to authors: Research absolutely everything your characters might think, say or use in the world you create for them. And please get an editor who has a background in something beyond a BA in teaching English.

    Reply
  23. Accents are a good way to indicate a character’s social status or place of origin. My pet peeve in historical novels is the glaring use of anachronisms. If a character in a Regency novel says “okay”, I probably won’t read the rest of the book. Recently, I read a Regency where one character described another character’s mental state using mid-20th-century psychiatric terminology.
    Note to authors: Research absolutely everything your characters might think, say or use in the world you create for them. And please get an editor who has a background in something beyond a BA in teaching English.

    Reply
  24. Accents are a good way to indicate a character’s social status or place of origin. My pet peeve in historical novels is the glaring use of anachronisms. If a character in a Regency novel says “okay”, I probably won’t read the rest of the book. Recently, I read a Regency where one character described another character’s mental state using mid-20th-century psychiatric terminology.
    Note to authors: Research absolutely everything your characters might think, say or use in the world you create for them. And please get an editor who has a background in something beyond a BA in teaching English.

    Reply
  25. Accents are a good way to indicate a character’s social status or place of origin. My pet peeve in historical novels is the glaring use of anachronisms. If a character in a Regency novel says “okay”, I probably won’t read the rest of the book. Recently, I read a Regency where one character described another character’s mental state using mid-20th-century psychiatric terminology.
    Note to authors: Research absolutely everything your characters might think, say or use in the world you create for them. And please get an editor who has a background in something beyond a BA in teaching English.

    Reply
  26. Pat,
    For my historical mysteries (Tudor era), written 20 years ago now, I tried to be as accurate with speech as possible, short of sounding like bad Shakespeare, and like you researched regional accents and speech patterns and local expressions, but when I recently started editing for reissue in omnibus editions that all sounded way too formal. A few uses of ’tis, for example, go a long way. Since it’s wasn’t yet in use, I ended up changing them all to it is. Will anyone notice? Will anyone care? I have no idea, but I can guarantee some reader will complain the result still sounds too American. To me, anyway, the revised versions read more smoothly. I think your instinct to go with less slang is sound.

    Reply
  27. Pat,
    For my historical mysteries (Tudor era), written 20 years ago now, I tried to be as accurate with speech as possible, short of sounding like bad Shakespeare, and like you researched regional accents and speech patterns and local expressions, but when I recently started editing for reissue in omnibus editions that all sounded way too formal. A few uses of ’tis, for example, go a long way. Since it’s wasn’t yet in use, I ended up changing them all to it is. Will anyone notice? Will anyone care? I have no idea, but I can guarantee some reader will complain the result still sounds too American. To me, anyway, the revised versions read more smoothly. I think your instinct to go with less slang is sound.

    Reply
  28. Pat,
    For my historical mysteries (Tudor era), written 20 years ago now, I tried to be as accurate with speech as possible, short of sounding like bad Shakespeare, and like you researched regional accents and speech patterns and local expressions, but when I recently started editing for reissue in omnibus editions that all sounded way too formal. A few uses of ’tis, for example, go a long way. Since it’s wasn’t yet in use, I ended up changing them all to it is. Will anyone notice? Will anyone care? I have no idea, but I can guarantee some reader will complain the result still sounds too American. To me, anyway, the revised versions read more smoothly. I think your instinct to go with less slang is sound.

    Reply
  29. Pat,
    For my historical mysteries (Tudor era), written 20 years ago now, I tried to be as accurate with speech as possible, short of sounding like bad Shakespeare, and like you researched regional accents and speech patterns and local expressions, but when I recently started editing for reissue in omnibus editions that all sounded way too formal. A few uses of ’tis, for example, go a long way. Since it’s wasn’t yet in use, I ended up changing them all to it is. Will anyone notice? Will anyone care? I have no idea, but I can guarantee some reader will complain the result still sounds too American. To me, anyway, the revised versions read more smoothly. I think your instinct to go with less slang is sound.

    Reply
  30. Pat,
    For my historical mysteries (Tudor era), written 20 years ago now, I tried to be as accurate with speech as possible, short of sounding like bad Shakespeare, and like you researched regional accents and speech patterns and local expressions, but when I recently started editing for reissue in omnibus editions that all sounded way too formal. A few uses of ’tis, for example, go a long way. Since it’s wasn’t yet in use, I ended up changing them all to it is. Will anyone notice? Will anyone care? I have no idea, but I can guarantee some reader will complain the result still sounds too American. To me, anyway, the revised versions read more smoothly. I think your instinct to go with less slang is sound.

    Reply
  31. I think the Georgette Heyer style Regency cant can be overdone, it can sound like an author is trying to imitate her. A little bit goes a long way. I do enjoy some colorful expressions that are specific to the character, for instance naval slang if the book is set in that world, or vernacular that is specific to a certain region.

    Reply
  32. I think the Georgette Heyer style Regency cant can be overdone, it can sound like an author is trying to imitate her. A little bit goes a long way. I do enjoy some colorful expressions that are specific to the character, for instance naval slang if the book is set in that world, or vernacular that is specific to a certain region.

    Reply
  33. I think the Georgette Heyer style Regency cant can be overdone, it can sound like an author is trying to imitate her. A little bit goes a long way. I do enjoy some colorful expressions that are specific to the character, for instance naval slang if the book is set in that world, or vernacular that is specific to a certain region.

    Reply
  34. I think the Georgette Heyer style Regency cant can be overdone, it can sound like an author is trying to imitate her. A little bit goes a long way. I do enjoy some colorful expressions that are specific to the character, for instance naval slang if the book is set in that world, or vernacular that is specific to a certain region.

    Reply
  35. I think the Georgette Heyer style Regency cant can be overdone, it can sound like an author is trying to imitate her. A little bit goes a long way. I do enjoy some colorful expressions that are specific to the character, for instance naval slang if the book is set in that world, or vernacular that is specific to a certain region.

    Reply
  36. I started poking around at online diaries. I quickly found out, though journal writing was reportedly popular, no many before the 1860’s seem to be transcribed for ease of reading.
    This one by a young lawyer in Massachusetts in 1830 struck me as sounding very “normal” with only a few words like flummery thrown in. I was struck by his descriptions of traveling by various conveyances, occasional immoderate drinking with friends and and how many, many times he took tea, often with single young ladies.
    He also lists various books, e.g. Boswell’s life of Johnson, and periodicals he is reading over the period.
    I wish I had a social life like his!
    https://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/resources/christopher-columbus-baldwin-diary-entrees-about-leisure

    Reply
  37. I started poking around at online diaries. I quickly found out, though journal writing was reportedly popular, no many before the 1860’s seem to be transcribed for ease of reading.
    This one by a young lawyer in Massachusetts in 1830 struck me as sounding very “normal” with only a few words like flummery thrown in. I was struck by his descriptions of traveling by various conveyances, occasional immoderate drinking with friends and and how many, many times he took tea, often with single young ladies.
    He also lists various books, e.g. Boswell’s life of Johnson, and periodicals he is reading over the period.
    I wish I had a social life like his!
    https://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/resources/christopher-columbus-baldwin-diary-entrees-about-leisure

    Reply
  38. I started poking around at online diaries. I quickly found out, though journal writing was reportedly popular, no many before the 1860’s seem to be transcribed for ease of reading.
    This one by a young lawyer in Massachusetts in 1830 struck me as sounding very “normal” with only a few words like flummery thrown in. I was struck by his descriptions of traveling by various conveyances, occasional immoderate drinking with friends and and how many, many times he took tea, often with single young ladies.
    He also lists various books, e.g. Boswell’s life of Johnson, and periodicals he is reading over the period.
    I wish I had a social life like his!
    https://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/resources/christopher-columbus-baldwin-diary-entrees-about-leisure

    Reply
  39. I started poking around at online diaries. I quickly found out, though journal writing was reportedly popular, no many before the 1860’s seem to be transcribed for ease of reading.
    This one by a young lawyer in Massachusetts in 1830 struck me as sounding very “normal” with only a few words like flummery thrown in. I was struck by his descriptions of traveling by various conveyances, occasional immoderate drinking with friends and and how many, many times he took tea, often with single young ladies.
    He also lists various books, e.g. Boswell’s life of Johnson, and periodicals he is reading over the period.
    I wish I had a social life like his!
    https://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/resources/christopher-columbus-baldwin-diary-entrees-about-leisure

    Reply
  40. I started poking around at online diaries. I quickly found out, though journal writing was reportedly popular, no many before the 1860’s seem to be transcribed for ease of reading.
    This one by a young lawyer in Massachusetts in 1830 struck me as sounding very “normal” with only a few words like flummery thrown in. I was struck by his descriptions of traveling by various conveyances, occasional immoderate drinking with friends and and how many, many times he took tea, often with single young ladies.
    He also lists various books, e.g. Boswell’s life of Johnson, and periodicals he is reading over the period.
    I wish I had a social life like his!
    https://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/resources/christopher-columbus-baldwin-diary-entrees-about-leisure

    Reply
  41. Although I don’t need a slavish devotion to accuracy, I do appreciate a reasonable attempt at historically accurate language. I know can be vernacular be overdone, as previously noted, but a story heavily sprinkled with anachronisms annoys me enough that I quit reading. In such instances the story is often silly and poorly written, anyway, and I feel little respect for the author.
    I recently tried to read one which takes place in 18th Century Scotland. The dialogue was all a strange Scots-English gobbledygook. They would not have been speaking English with a Scots accent to each other!

    Reply
  42. Although I don’t need a slavish devotion to accuracy, I do appreciate a reasonable attempt at historically accurate language. I know can be vernacular be overdone, as previously noted, but a story heavily sprinkled with anachronisms annoys me enough that I quit reading. In such instances the story is often silly and poorly written, anyway, and I feel little respect for the author.
    I recently tried to read one which takes place in 18th Century Scotland. The dialogue was all a strange Scots-English gobbledygook. They would not have been speaking English with a Scots accent to each other!

    Reply
  43. Although I don’t need a slavish devotion to accuracy, I do appreciate a reasonable attempt at historically accurate language. I know can be vernacular be overdone, as previously noted, but a story heavily sprinkled with anachronisms annoys me enough that I quit reading. In such instances the story is often silly and poorly written, anyway, and I feel little respect for the author.
    I recently tried to read one which takes place in 18th Century Scotland. The dialogue was all a strange Scots-English gobbledygook. They would not have been speaking English with a Scots accent to each other!

    Reply
  44. Although I don’t need a slavish devotion to accuracy, I do appreciate a reasonable attempt at historically accurate language. I know can be vernacular be overdone, as previously noted, but a story heavily sprinkled with anachronisms annoys me enough that I quit reading. In such instances the story is often silly and poorly written, anyway, and I feel little respect for the author.
    I recently tried to read one which takes place in 18th Century Scotland. The dialogue was all a strange Scots-English gobbledygook. They would not have been speaking English with a Scots accent to each other!

    Reply
  45. Although I don’t need a slavish devotion to accuracy, I do appreciate a reasonable attempt at historically accurate language. I know can be vernacular be overdone, as previously noted, but a story heavily sprinkled with anachronisms annoys me enough that I quit reading. In such instances the story is often silly and poorly written, anyway, and I feel little respect for the author.
    I recently tried to read one which takes place in 18th Century Scotland. The dialogue was all a strange Scots-English gobbledygook. They would not have been speaking English with a Scots accent to each other!

    Reply
  46. When one considers that books written in modern day conversational speech have done well, I don’t think all readers are concerned with what the characters say. Some are and their expectations have been set by Heyer and Austen. Austen uses very little slang. Most of the slang would only be used by men and most comes from sporting events. Egan’s books are the source of much as is Grosse’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. The vulgar here means common and it is very common– speech of laborers, pickpockets, whoremasters,and grifters. The upper classes used such things as the Devonshire drawl– a sort of lisping speech. There are phrases that females might use such has “she has more hair than wit” — where wit means intelligence. Gentlemen didn’t swear or use cant in the presence of ladies and ladies didn’t do so in public. Lady Lade might be a lady by marriage but all knew her low origins so few outside the horsey set recognized her existence.

    Reply
  47. When one considers that books written in modern day conversational speech have done well, I don’t think all readers are concerned with what the characters say. Some are and their expectations have been set by Heyer and Austen. Austen uses very little slang. Most of the slang would only be used by men and most comes from sporting events. Egan’s books are the source of much as is Grosse’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. The vulgar here means common and it is very common– speech of laborers, pickpockets, whoremasters,and grifters. The upper classes used such things as the Devonshire drawl– a sort of lisping speech. There are phrases that females might use such has “she has more hair than wit” — where wit means intelligence. Gentlemen didn’t swear or use cant in the presence of ladies and ladies didn’t do so in public. Lady Lade might be a lady by marriage but all knew her low origins so few outside the horsey set recognized her existence.

    Reply
  48. When one considers that books written in modern day conversational speech have done well, I don’t think all readers are concerned with what the characters say. Some are and their expectations have been set by Heyer and Austen. Austen uses very little slang. Most of the slang would only be used by men and most comes from sporting events. Egan’s books are the source of much as is Grosse’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. The vulgar here means common and it is very common– speech of laborers, pickpockets, whoremasters,and grifters. The upper classes used such things as the Devonshire drawl– a sort of lisping speech. There are phrases that females might use such has “she has more hair than wit” — where wit means intelligence. Gentlemen didn’t swear or use cant in the presence of ladies and ladies didn’t do so in public. Lady Lade might be a lady by marriage but all knew her low origins so few outside the horsey set recognized her existence.

    Reply
  49. When one considers that books written in modern day conversational speech have done well, I don’t think all readers are concerned with what the characters say. Some are and their expectations have been set by Heyer and Austen. Austen uses very little slang. Most of the slang would only be used by men and most comes from sporting events. Egan’s books are the source of much as is Grosse’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. The vulgar here means common and it is very common– speech of laborers, pickpockets, whoremasters,and grifters. The upper classes used such things as the Devonshire drawl– a sort of lisping speech. There are phrases that females might use such has “she has more hair than wit” — where wit means intelligence. Gentlemen didn’t swear or use cant in the presence of ladies and ladies didn’t do so in public. Lady Lade might be a lady by marriage but all knew her low origins so few outside the horsey set recognized her existence.

    Reply
  50. When one considers that books written in modern day conversational speech have done well, I don’t think all readers are concerned with what the characters say. Some are and their expectations have been set by Heyer and Austen. Austen uses very little slang. Most of the slang would only be used by men and most comes from sporting events. Egan’s books are the source of much as is Grosse’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. The vulgar here means common and it is very common– speech of laborers, pickpockets, whoremasters,and grifters. The upper classes used such things as the Devonshire drawl– a sort of lisping speech. There are phrases that females might use such has “she has more hair than wit” — where wit means intelligence. Gentlemen didn’t swear or use cant in the presence of ladies and ladies didn’t do so in public. Lady Lade might be a lady by marriage but all knew her low origins so few outside the horsey set recognized her existence.

    Reply
  51. As for regional speech, I haven’t found a good source for that. Many author– even those born and raised in the UK give all the lower classes Cockney speech which makes me cringe. Another author uses the word sex ( meaning sexual intercourse) in the modern way. Plays of the day are even better than letters or novels because people wrote more formally in novels and letters than they did when representing characters on the stage.

    Reply
  52. As for regional speech, I haven’t found a good source for that. Many author– even those born and raised in the UK give all the lower classes Cockney speech which makes me cringe. Another author uses the word sex ( meaning sexual intercourse) in the modern way. Plays of the day are even better than letters or novels because people wrote more formally in novels and letters than they did when representing characters on the stage.

    Reply
  53. As for regional speech, I haven’t found a good source for that. Many author– even those born and raised in the UK give all the lower classes Cockney speech which makes me cringe. Another author uses the word sex ( meaning sexual intercourse) in the modern way. Plays of the day are even better than letters or novels because people wrote more formally in novels and letters than they did when representing characters on the stage.

    Reply
  54. As for regional speech, I haven’t found a good source for that. Many author– even those born and raised in the UK give all the lower classes Cockney speech which makes me cringe. Another author uses the word sex ( meaning sexual intercourse) in the modern way. Plays of the day are even better than letters or novels because people wrote more formally in novels and letters than they did when representing characters on the stage.

    Reply
  55. As for regional speech, I haven’t found a good source for that. Many author– even those born and raised in the UK give all the lower classes Cockney speech which makes me cringe. Another author uses the word sex ( meaning sexual intercourse) in the modern way. Plays of the day are even better than letters or novels because people wrote more formally in novels and letters than they did when representing characters on the stage.

    Reply
  56. oh my, you just sent me down an entertaining bunny trail. I know Regency characters used ridiculous euphemisms and I’ve heard of the blasphemy laws but I never had reason to research. I kinda thought they were medieval and no one bothered with them. But they were still prosecuting in 1846 (from a real fast search), so whee….. a new plot bunny, thank you!
    Hmmm, Andrew Jackson… there was a character. I’ll dig in and see what I find there.

    Reply
  57. oh my, you just sent me down an entertaining bunny trail. I know Regency characters used ridiculous euphemisms and I’ve heard of the blasphemy laws but I never had reason to research. I kinda thought they were medieval and no one bothered with them. But they were still prosecuting in 1846 (from a real fast search), so whee….. a new plot bunny, thank you!
    Hmmm, Andrew Jackson… there was a character. I’ll dig in and see what I find there.

    Reply
  58. oh my, you just sent me down an entertaining bunny trail. I know Regency characters used ridiculous euphemisms and I’ve heard of the blasphemy laws but I never had reason to research. I kinda thought they were medieval and no one bothered with them. But they were still prosecuting in 1846 (from a real fast search), so whee….. a new plot bunny, thank you!
    Hmmm, Andrew Jackson… there was a character. I’ll dig in and see what I find there.

    Reply
  59. oh my, you just sent me down an entertaining bunny trail. I know Regency characters used ridiculous euphemisms and I’ve heard of the blasphemy laws but I never had reason to research. I kinda thought they were medieval and no one bothered with them. But they were still prosecuting in 1846 (from a real fast search), so whee….. a new plot bunny, thank you!
    Hmmm, Andrew Jackson… there was a character. I’ll dig in and see what I find there.

    Reply
  60. oh my, you just sent me down an entertaining bunny trail. I know Regency characters used ridiculous euphemisms and I’ve heard of the blasphemy laws but I never had reason to research. I kinda thought they were medieval and no one bothered with them. But they were still prosecuting in 1846 (from a real fast search), so whee….. a new plot bunny, thank you!
    Hmmm, Andrew Jackson… there was a character. I’ll dig in and see what I find there.

    Reply
  61. I don’t know if I’m sad about the accents being less prevalent. I distinctly remember moving from NY to KY when I was nine and not understanding anything anyone said. I have a very bad ear for accents and it was a horrifying experience!
    But that does eliminate the Andrew Jackson suggestion above! And the written word probably wouldn’t reflect the spoken, so I’m still up a creek.

    Reply
  62. I don’t know if I’m sad about the accents being less prevalent. I distinctly remember moving from NY to KY when I was nine and not understanding anything anyone said. I have a very bad ear for accents and it was a horrifying experience!
    But that does eliminate the Andrew Jackson suggestion above! And the written word probably wouldn’t reflect the spoken, so I’m still up a creek.

    Reply
  63. I don’t know if I’m sad about the accents being less prevalent. I distinctly remember moving from NY to KY when I was nine and not understanding anything anyone said. I have a very bad ear for accents and it was a horrifying experience!
    But that does eliminate the Andrew Jackson suggestion above! And the written word probably wouldn’t reflect the spoken, so I’m still up a creek.

    Reply
  64. I don’t know if I’m sad about the accents being less prevalent. I distinctly remember moving from NY to KY when I was nine and not understanding anything anyone said. I have a very bad ear for accents and it was a horrifying experience!
    But that does eliminate the Andrew Jackson suggestion above! And the written word probably wouldn’t reflect the spoken, so I’m still up a creek.

    Reply
  65. I don’t know if I’m sad about the accents being less prevalent. I distinctly remember moving from NY to KY when I was nine and not understanding anything anyone said. I have a very bad ear for accents and it was a horrifying experience!
    But that does eliminate the Andrew Jackson suggestion above! And the written word probably wouldn’t reflect the spoken, so I’m still up a creek.

    Reply
  66. You point out part of my problem… I really haven’t been reading much Regency lately. Too many modern ones are just that–modern. I would get out my Heyers but I left them in our cross-country move. Guess I’ll have to buy them again!

    Reply
  67. You point out part of my problem… I really haven’t been reading much Regency lately. Too many modern ones are just that–modern. I would get out my Heyers but I left them in our cross-country move. Guess I’ll have to buy them again!

    Reply
  68. You point out part of my problem… I really haven’t been reading much Regency lately. Too many modern ones are just that–modern. I would get out my Heyers but I left them in our cross-country move. Guess I’ll have to buy them again!

    Reply
  69. You point out part of my problem… I really haven’t been reading much Regency lately. Too many modern ones are just that–modern. I would get out my Heyers but I left them in our cross-country move. Guess I’ll have to buy them again!

    Reply
  70. You point out part of my problem… I really haven’t been reading much Regency lately. Too many modern ones are just that–modern. I would get out my Heyers but I left them in our cross-country move. Guess I’ll have to buy them again!

    Reply
  71. Agreed! I remember when I wrote my first historical and had to research the word “okay,” back before Brother Google was available. We now have a plethora of means to research words and little excuse for using psychological terms prior to the 20th century! Although sometimes, some words are so established that it’s hard to recognize that they’re not used in our current form. Try roughshod, see where that gets you.

    Reply
  72. Agreed! I remember when I wrote my first historical and had to research the word “okay,” back before Brother Google was available. We now have a plethora of means to research words and little excuse for using psychological terms prior to the 20th century! Although sometimes, some words are so established that it’s hard to recognize that they’re not used in our current form. Try roughshod, see where that gets you.

    Reply
  73. Agreed! I remember when I wrote my first historical and had to research the word “okay,” back before Brother Google was available. We now have a plethora of means to research words and little excuse for using psychological terms prior to the 20th century! Although sometimes, some words are so established that it’s hard to recognize that they’re not used in our current form. Try roughshod, see where that gets you.

    Reply
  74. Agreed! I remember when I wrote my first historical and had to research the word “okay,” back before Brother Google was available. We now have a plethora of means to research words and little excuse for using psychological terms prior to the 20th century! Although sometimes, some words are so established that it’s hard to recognize that they’re not used in our current form. Try roughshod, see where that gets you.

    Reply
  75. Agreed! I remember when I wrote my first historical and had to research the word “okay,” back before Brother Google was available. We now have a plethora of means to research words and little excuse for using psychological terms prior to the 20th century! Although sometimes, some words are so established that it’s hard to recognize that they’re not used in our current form. Try roughshod, see where that gets you.

    Reply
  76. I think you’re right. I think we have a whole different reading audience now than we did in the early days. Media have opened up our worlds in so many ways that we really don’t need to describe what we can see or hear on a regular basis. We just need to dig into the story and go from there.

    Reply
  77. I think you’re right. I think we have a whole different reading audience now than we did in the early days. Media have opened up our worlds in so many ways that we really don’t need to describe what we can see or hear on a regular basis. We just need to dig into the story and go from there.

    Reply
  78. I think you’re right. I think we have a whole different reading audience now than we did in the early days. Media have opened up our worlds in so many ways that we really don’t need to describe what we can see or hear on a regular basis. We just need to dig into the story and go from there.

    Reply
  79. I think you’re right. I think we have a whole different reading audience now than we did in the early days. Media have opened up our worlds in so many ways that we really don’t need to describe what we can see or hear on a regular basis. We just need to dig into the story and go from there.

    Reply
  80. I think you’re right. I think we have a whole different reading audience now than we did in the early days. Media have opened up our worlds in so many ways that we really don’t need to describe what we can see or hear on a regular basis. We just need to dig into the story and go from there.

    Reply
  81. oh my heavens, did that guy ever work? Hunting and sleighing and balls and drunken visits and… And he’s a lawyer? Wow. I need to work through this, but written language is a lot more formal than spoken, so not sure how far I’ll get.
    I am struck by how many times Brits take tea in cozy mysteries!

    Reply
  82. oh my heavens, did that guy ever work? Hunting and sleighing and balls and drunken visits and… And he’s a lawyer? Wow. I need to work through this, but written language is a lot more formal than spoken, so not sure how far I’ll get.
    I am struck by how many times Brits take tea in cozy mysteries!

    Reply
  83. oh my heavens, did that guy ever work? Hunting and sleighing and balls and drunken visits and… And he’s a lawyer? Wow. I need to work through this, but written language is a lot more formal than spoken, so not sure how far I’ll get.
    I am struck by how many times Brits take tea in cozy mysteries!

    Reply
  84. oh my heavens, did that guy ever work? Hunting and sleighing and balls and drunken visits and… And he’s a lawyer? Wow. I need to work through this, but written language is a lot more formal than spoken, so not sure how far I’ll get.
    I am struck by how many times Brits take tea in cozy mysteries!

    Reply
  85. oh my heavens, did that guy ever work? Hunting and sleighing and balls and drunken visits and… And he’s a lawyer? Wow. I need to work through this, but written language is a lot more formal than spoken, so not sure how far I’ll get.
    I am struck by how many times Brits take tea in cozy mysteries!

    Reply
  86. LOL, laughing at the image of English with a Scots accent… Yes, I fear too many writers are writing more for story than for anything resembling reality. We may have TV to blame for that.

    Reply
  87. LOL, laughing at the image of English with a Scots accent… Yes, I fear too many writers are writing more for story than for anything resembling reality. We may have TV to blame for that.

    Reply
  88. LOL, laughing at the image of English with a Scots accent… Yes, I fear too many writers are writing more for story than for anything resembling reality. We may have TV to blame for that.

    Reply
  89. LOL, laughing at the image of English with a Scots accent… Yes, I fear too many writers are writing more for story than for anything resembling reality. We may have TV to blame for that.

    Reply
  90. LOL, laughing at the image of English with a Scots accent… Yes, I fear too many writers are writing more for story than for anything resembling reality. We may have TV to blame for that.

    Reply
  91. I have Grosse but never found him useful for my more proper characters. And it may be that my early reading was all Austen and no Heyer that gives me reason to puzzle over usage. Good to know that I’m not all about in my head then.

    Reply
  92. I have Grosse but never found him useful for my more proper characters. And it may be that my early reading was all Austen and no Heyer that gives me reason to puzzle over usage. Good to know that I’m not all about in my head then.

    Reply
  93. I have Grosse but never found him useful for my more proper characters. And it may be that my early reading was all Austen and no Heyer that gives me reason to puzzle over usage. Good to know that I’m not all about in my head then.

    Reply
  94. I have Grosse but never found him useful for my more proper characters. And it may be that my early reading was all Austen and no Heyer that gives me reason to puzzle over usage. Good to know that I’m not all about in my head then.

    Reply
  95. I have Grosse but never found him useful for my more proper characters. And it may be that my early reading was all Austen and no Heyer that gives me reason to puzzle over usage. Good to know that I’m not all about in my head then.

    Reply
  96. oh plays, good thought! That’s more spoken speech. I have found very small local volumes on dialects for some areas of the UK, but since I’m really only using a few local characters and they don’t speak much, I’ve not dug deeper into the area I’m working with. Generally, all I like is a local word for common things like “potatoes.”

    Reply
  97. oh plays, good thought! That’s more spoken speech. I have found very small local volumes on dialects for some areas of the UK, but since I’m really only using a few local characters and they don’t speak much, I’ve not dug deeper into the area I’m working with. Generally, all I like is a local word for common things like “potatoes.”

    Reply
  98. oh plays, good thought! That’s more spoken speech. I have found very small local volumes on dialects for some areas of the UK, but since I’m really only using a few local characters and they don’t speak much, I’ve not dug deeper into the area I’m working with. Generally, all I like is a local word for common things like “potatoes.”

    Reply
  99. oh plays, good thought! That’s more spoken speech. I have found very small local volumes on dialects for some areas of the UK, but since I’m really only using a few local characters and they don’t speak much, I’ve not dug deeper into the area I’m working with. Generally, all I like is a local word for common things like “potatoes.”

    Reply
  100. oh plays, good thought! That’s more spoken speech. I have found very small local volumes on dialects for some areas of the UK, but since I’m really only using a few local characters and they don’t speak much, I’ve not dug deeper into the area I’m working with. Generally, all I like is a local word for common things like “potatoes.”

    Reply
  101. Generally speaking, I prefer that authors just say something like “He spoke with a strong Dorset (or French or German) accent” or something of the sort instead of trying to reproduce the sounds. And I’m not all that fond of Regency slang, especially when the author pays no attention to who is likely to say what. What I truly dislike is contemporary expressions coming out of Regency mouths. I was thrown out of one story when the hero said, “Well, that was a fun afternoon.”
    What I expect of Regency characters is slightly more formal speech than is used today, just as I expect the characters to stand up straight and not slouch around.

    Reply
  102. Generally speaking, I prefer that authors just say something like “He spoke with a strong Dorset (or French or German) accent” or something of the sort instead of trying to reproduce the sounds. And I’m not all that fond of Regency slang, especially when the author pays no attention to who is likely to say what. What I truly dislike is contemporary expressions coming out of Regency mouths. I was thrown out of one story when the hero said, “Well, that was a fun afternoon.”
    What I expect of Regency characters is slightly more formal speech than is used today, just as I expect the characters to stand up straight and not slouch around.

    Reply
  103. Generally speaking, I prefer that authors just say something like “He spoke with a strong Dorset (or French or German) accent” or something of the sort instead of trying to reproduce the sounds. And I’m not all that fond of Regency slang, especially when the author pays no attention to who is likely to say what. What I truly dislike is contemporary expressions coming out of Regency mouths. I was thrown out of one story when the hero said, “Well, that was a fun afternoon.”
    What I expect of Regency characters is slightly more formal speech than is used today, just as I expect the characters to stand up straight and not slouch around.

    Reply
  104. Generally speaking, I prefer that authors just say something like “He spoke with a strong Dorset (or French or German) accent” or something of the sort instead of trying to reproduce the sounds. And I’m not all that fond of Regency slang, especially when the author pays no attention to who is likely to say what. What I truly dislike is contemporary expressions coming out of Regency mouths. I was thrown out of one story when the hero said, “Well, that was a fun afternoon.”
    What I expect of Regency characters is slightly more formal speech than is used today, just as I expect the characters to stand up straight and not slouch around.

    Reply
  105. Generally speaking, I prefer that authors just say something like “He spoke with a strong Dorset (or French or German) accent” or something of the sort instead of trying to reproduce the sounds. And I’m not all that fond of Regency slang, especially when the author pays no attention to who is likely to say what. What I truly dislike is contemporary expressions coming out of Regency mouths. I was thrown out of one story when the hero said, “Well, that was a fun afternoon.”
    What I expect of Regency characters is slightly more formal speech than is used today, just as I expect the characters to stand up straight and not slouch around.

    Reply
  106. Your post is most interesting, Pat, and the comments have been fascinating. The discussion has made me wonder if contemporary romance authors will begin to, like, use “like” in, like, every other phrase of dialogue? I would immediately cease reading a story that did that, even though it would be a true reflection of current speech. But maybe I’m just, like, a grumpy old lady! 😉

    Reply
  107. Your post is most interesting, Pat, and the comments have been fascinating. The discussion has made me wonder if contemporary romance authors will begin to, like, use “like” in, like, every other phrase of dialogue? I would immediately cease reading a story that did that, even though it would be a true reflection of current speech. But maybe I’m just, like, a grumpy old lady! 😉

    Reply
  108. Your post is most interesting, Pat, and the comments have been fascinating. The discussion has made me wonder if contemporary romance authors will begin to, like, use “like” in, like, every other phrase of dialogue? I would immediately cease reading a story that did that, even though it would be a true reflection of current speech. But maybe I’m just, like, a grumpy old lady! 😉

    Reply
  109. Your post is most interesting, Pat, and the comments have been fascinating. The discussion has made me wonder if contemporary romance authors will begin to, like, use “like” in, like, every other phrase of dialogue? I would immediately cease reading a story that did that, even though it would be a true reflection of current speech. But maybe I’m just, like, a grumpy old lady! 😉

    Reply
  110. Your post is most interesting, Pat, and the comments have been fascinating. The discussion has made me wonder if contemporary romance authors will begin to, like, use “like” in, like, every other phrase of dialogue? I would immediately cease reading a story that did that, even though it would be a true reflection of current speech. But maybe I’m just, like, a grumpy old lady! 😉

    Reply
  111. First, thanks for the post….very interesting. I am not very interested in reading some author’s idea of how someone sounded. Generally, since I wasn’t there, I am willing to grant leeway to someone writing speech patterns. Within reason.
    But, the use of modern speech within any historical novel makes me decide that author is not interested in me as a reader. “Like! You know what I’m saying?” That’s rather like Scarlet O’Hara whipping out her cell phone in order to call Ashley Wilkes.
    This post makes one consider how important speech is to the enjoyment of a story. And it also makes me realize I am not the only person who does not want to have anachronisms in the midst of a story.
    Thanks

    Reply
  112. First, thanks for the post….very interesting. I am not very interested in reading some author’s idea of how someone sounded. Generally, since I wasn’t there, I am willing to grant leeway to someone writing speech patterns. Within reason.
    But, the use of modern speech within any historical novel makes me decide that author is not interested in me as a reader. “Like! You know what I’m saying?” That’s rather like Scarlet O’Hara whipping out her cell phone in order to call Ashley Wilkes.
    This post makes one consider how important speech is to the enjoyment of a story. And it also makes me realize I am not the only person who does not want to have anachronisms in the midst of a story.
    Thanks

    Reply
  113. First, thanks for the post….very interesting. I am not very interested in reading some author’s idea of how someone sounded. Generally, since I wasn’t there, I am willing to grant leeway to someone writing speech patterns. Within reason.
    But, the use of modern speech within any historical novel makes me decide that author is not interested in me as a reader. “Like! You know what I’m saying?” That’s rather like Scarlet O’Hara whipping out her cell phone in order to call Ashley Wilkes.
    This post makes one consider how important speech is to the enjoyment of a story. And it also makes me realize I am not the only person who does not want to have anachronisms in the midst of a story.
    Thanks

    Reply
  114. First, thanks for the post….very interesting. I am not very interested in reading some author’s idea of how someone sounded. Generally, since I wasn’t there, I am willing to grant leeway to someone writing speech patterns. Within reason.
    But, the use of modern speech within any historical novel makes me decide that author is not interested in me as a reader. “Like! You know what I’m saying?” That’s rather like Scarlet O’Hara whipping out her cell phone in order to call Ashley Wilkes.
    This post makes one consider how important speech is to the enjoyment of a story. And it also makes me realize I am not the only person who does not want to have anachronisms in the midst of a story.
    Thanks

    Reply
  115. First, thanks for the post….very interesting. I am not very interested in reading some author’s idea of how someone sounded. Generally, since I wasn’t there, I am willing to grant leeway to someone writing speech patterns. Within reason.
    But, the use of modern speech within any historical novel makes me decide that author is not interested in me as a reader. “Like! You know what I’m saying?” That’s rather like Scarlet O’Hara whipping out her cell phone in order to call Ashley Wilkes.
    This post makes one consider how important speech is to the enjoyment of a story. And it also makes me realize I am not the only person who does not want to have anachronisms in the midst of a story.
    Thanks

    Reply
  116. I have used “she spoke with a thick accent” bit but it’s not quite as satisfying as knowing what the accent sounds like. But life is short.
    Formality is good, although I suspect my American solider would be less formal. And slouching… that’s a good point!

    Reply
  117. I have used “she spoke with a thick accent” bit but it’s not quite as satisfying as knowing what the accent sounds like. But life is short.
    Formality is good, although I suspect my American solider would be less formal. And slouching… that’s a good point!

    Reply
  118. I have used “she spoke with a thick accent” bit but it’s not quite as satisfying as knowing what the accent sounds like. But life is short.
    Formality is good, although I suspect my American solider would be less formal. And slouching… that’s a good point!

    Reply
  119. I have used “she spoke with a thick accent” bit but it’s not quite as satisfying as knowing what the accent sounds like. But life is short.
    Formality is good, although I suspect my American solider would be less formal. And slouching… that’s a good point!

    Reply
  120. I have used “she spoke with a thick accent” bit but it’s not quite as satisfying as knowing what the accent sounds like. But life is short.
    Formality is good, although I suspect my American solider would be less formal. And slouching… that’s a good point!

    Reply
  121. You are very definitely not the only one who prefers to eliminate anachronisms! I think wench readers have made that plain. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, writers will toss off phrases that don’t particularly sound modern to our ears but really are for our characters. Those are hard to catch. And some terms can be traced to ancient times, but their meaning was different. So I’m willing to allow some leeway when I run across those, should I actually recognize them.

    Reply
  122. You are very definitely not the only one who prefers to eliminate anachronisms! I think wench readers have made that plain. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, writers will toss off phrases that don’t particularly sound modern to our ears but really are for our characters. Those are hard to catch. And some terms can be traced to ancient times, but their meaning was different. So I’m willing to allow some leeway when I run across those, should I actually recognize them.

    Reply
  123. You are very definitely not the only one who prefers to eliminate anachronisms! I think wench readers have made that plain. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, writers will toss off phrases that don’t particularly sound modern to our ears but really are for our characters. Those are hard to catch. And some terms can be traced to ancient times, but their meaning was different. So I’m willing to allow some leeway when I run across those, should I actually recognize them.

    Reply
  124. You are very definitely not the only one who prefers to eliminate anachronisms! I think wench readers have made that plain. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, writers will toss off phrases that don’t particularly sound modern to our ears but really are for our characters. Those are hard to catch. And some terms can be traced to ancient times, but their meaning was different. So I’m willing to allow some leeway when I run across those, should I actually recognize them.

    Reply
  125. You are very definitely not the only one who prefers to eliminate anachronisms! I think wench readers have made that plain. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, writers will toss off phrases that don’t particularly sound modern to our ears but really are for our characters. Those are hard to catch. And some terms can be traced to ancient times, but their meaning was different. So I’m willing to allow some leeway when I run across those, should I actually recognize them.

    Reply
  126. What a fascinating post, Pat, and a fun set of comments.
    I am all for the occasional slang or Regency era saying. They can easily be overdone as can accents, ma bonnie lassie, y’ken?

    Reply
  127. What a fascinating post, Pat, and a fun set of comments.
    I am all for the occasional slang or Regency era saying. They can easily be overdone as can accents, ma bonnie lassie, y’ken?

    Reply
  128. What a fascinating post, Pat, and a fun set of comments.
    I am all for the occasional slang or Regency era saying. They can easily be overdone as can accents, ma bonnie lassie, y’ken?

    Reply
  129. What a fascinating post, Pat, and a fun set of comments.
    I am all for the occasional slang or Regency era saying. They can easily be overdone as can accents, ma bonnie lassie, y’ken?

    Reply
  130. What a fascinating post, Pat, and a fun set of comments.
    I am all for the occasional slang or Regency era saying. They can easily be overdone as can accents, ma bonnie lassie, y’ken?

    Reply
  131. As an English (i.e.from England) reader I get very frustrated with glaring American usages in books set in Regency or Victorian England.
    Taking “fall” as the starting point, that battle was lost in England in the late 18th century, in favour of the more ‘educated’, that is Latin derived autumn. Thank goodness we missed aestas! I like fall but in Regency or Victorian language it is just plain wrong.
    More hideous is ‘normalcy’ a modern abomination and the only true Americanism (a pejorative term), I can think of. All nouns formed from from adjectives ending with -al have the suffix -ality.
    The other one that stops me in my tracks is ‘obligate’. As a retired lawyer I know that in the UK I am obligated to drive on the left. Obligate is only used where there is a legal obligation. I suspect Jane Austen never heard the word. A social obligation does not have obligate but ‘oblige’ as it’s verb, most likely pronounced ‘obleege’
    It’s the carelessness that gets me.
    To go to the ‘Regency’American, I suspect that as long as the language does not contain anachronisms, such as ‘conniptions’ one can get away with confusion on his part as to English usages. Perhaps ‘corn’ as the British generic for all edible grain would make the point. To the English upper classes he would have probably been looked on as rather barbaric, cocooned as they were in self righteous snobbery.
    If anyone is interested in how Jane Austen actually sounded look on the Internet for a, now dead, cricket commentator called John Arnott. He came from Hampshire and still had the Hampshire accent. It’s rare in these days of TV but in Regency England country accents, even in the educated classes were common. Like incest they ‘flourished where the roads were bad’, but unlike incest their passing is much mourned.

    Reply
  132. As an English (i.e.from England) reader I get very frustrated with glaring American usages in books set in Regency or Victorian England.
    Taking “fall” as the starting point, that battle was lost in England in the late 18th century, in favour of the more ‘educated’, that is Latin derived autumn. Thank goodness we missed aestas! I like fall but in Regency or Victorian language it is just plain wrong.
    More hideous is ‘normalcy’ a modern abomination and the only true Americanism (a pejorative term), I can think of. All nouns formed from from adjectives ending with -al have the suffix -ality.
    The other one that stops me in my tracks is ‘obligate’. As a retired lawyer I know that in the UK I am obligated to drive on the left. Obligate is only used where there is a legal obligation. I suspect Jane Austen never heard the word. A social obligation does not have obligate but ‘oblige’ as it’s verb, most likely pronounced ‘obleege’
    It’s the carelessness that gets me.
    To go to the ‘Regency’American, I suspect that as long as the language does not contain anachronisms, such as ‘conniptions’ one can get away with confusion on his part as to English usages. Perhaps ‘corn’ as the British generic for all edible grain would make the point. To the English upper classes he would have probably been looked on as rather barbaric, cocooned as they were in self righteous snobbery.
    If anyone is interested in how Jane Austen actually sounded look on the Internet for a, now dead, cricket commentator called John Arnott. He came from Hampshire and still had the Hampshire accent. It’s rare in these days of TV but in Regency England country accents, even in the educated classes were common. Like incest they ‘flourished where the roads were bad’, but unlike incest their passing is much mourned.

    Reply
  133. As an English (i.e.from England) reader I get very frustrated with glaring American usages in books set in Regency or Victorian England.
    Taking “fall” as the starting point, that battle was lost in England in the late 18th century, in favour of the more ‘educated’, that is Latin derived autumn. Thank goodness we missed aestas! I like fall but in Regency or Victorian language it is just plain wrong.
    More hideous is ‘normalcy’ a modern abomination and the only true Americanism (a pejorative term), I can think of. All nouns formed from from adjectives ending with -al have the suffix -ality.
    The other one that stops me in my tracks is ‘obligate’. As a retired lawyer I know that in the UK I am obligated to drive on the left. Obligate is only used where there is a legal obligation. I suspect Jane Austen never heard the word. A social obligation does not have obligate but ‘oblige’ as it’s verb, most likely pronounced ‘obleege’
    It’s the carelessness that gets me.
    To go to the ‘Regency’American, I suspect that as long as the language does not contain anachronisms, such as ‘conniptions’ one can get away with confusion on his part as to English usages. Perhaps ‘corn’ as the British generic for all edible grain would make the point. To the English upper classes he would have probably been looked on as rather barbaric, cocooned as they were in self righteous snobbery.
    If anyone is interested in how Jane Austen actually sounded look on the Internet for a, now dead, cricket commentator called John Arnott. He came from Hampshire and still had the Hampshire accent. It’s rare in these days of TV but in Regency England country accents, even in the educated classes were common. Like incest they ‘flourished where the roads were bad’, but unlike incest their passing is much mourned.

    Reply
  134. As an English (i.e.from England) reader I get very frustrated with glaring American usages in books set in Regency or Victorian England.
    Taking “fall” as the starting point, that battle was lost in England in the late 18th century, in favour of the more ‘educated’, that is Latin derived autumn. Thank goodness we missed aestas! I like fall but in Regency or Victorian language it is just plain wrong.
    More hideous is ‘normalcy’ a modern abomination and the only true Americanism (a pejorative term), I can think of. All nouns formed from from adjectives ending with -al have the suffix -ality.
    The other one that stops me in my tracks is ‘obligate’. As a retired lawyer I know that in the UK I am obligated to drive on the left. Obligate is only used where there is a legal obligation. I suspect Jane Austen never heard the word. A social obligation does not have obligate but ‘oblige’ as it’s verb, most likely pronounced ‘obleege’
    It’s the carelessness that gets me.
    To go to the ‘Regency’American, I suspect that as long as the language does not contain anachronisms, such as ‘conniptions’ one can get away with confusion on his part as to English usages. Perhaps ‘corn’ as the British generic for all edible grain would make the point. To the English upper classes he would have probably been looked on as rather barbaric, cocooned as they were in self righteous snobbery.
    If anyone is interested in how Jane Austen actually sounded look on the Internet for a, now dead, cricket commentator called John Arnott. He came from Hampshire and still had the Hampshire accent. It’s rare in these days of TV but in Regency England country accents, even in the educated classes were common. Like incest they ‘flourished where the roads were bad’, but unlike incest their passing is much mourned.

    Reply
  135. As an English (i.e.from England) reader I get very frustrated with glaring American usages in books set in Regency or Victorian England.
    Taking “fall” as the starting point, that battle was lost in England in the late 18th century, in favour of the more ‘educated’, that is Latin derived autumn. Thank goodness we missed aestas! I like fall but in Regency or Victorian language it is just plain wrong.
    More hideous is ‘normalcy’ a modern abomination and the only true Americanism (a pejorative term), I can think of. All nouns formed from from adjectives ending with -al have the suffix -ality.
    The other one that stops me in my tracks is ‘obligate’. As a retired lawyer I know that in the UK I am obligated to drive on the left. Obligate is only used where there is a legal obligation. I suspect Jane Austen never heard the word. A social obligation does not have obligate but ‘oblige’ as it’s verb, most likely pronounced ‘obleege’
    It’s the carelessness that gets me.
    To go to the ‘Regency’American, I suspect that as long as the language does not contain anachronisms, such as ‘conniptions’ one can get away with confusion on his part as to English usages. Perhaps ‘corn’ as the British generic for all edible grain would make the point. To the English upper classes he would have probably been looked on as rather barbaric, cocooned as they were in self righteous snobbery.
    If anyone is interested in how Jane Austen actually sounded look on the Internet for a, now dead, cricket commentator called John Arnott. He came from Hampshire and still had the Hampshire accent. It’s rare in these days of TV but in Regency England country accents, even in the educated classes were common. Like incest they ‘flourished where the roads were bad’, but unlike incest their passing is much mourned.

    Reply
  136. I think any kind of local speech pattern can be over done. Kind of along the theory that less is more with only lite hints that flavor the writing.
    If you are writing a book set in the south (meaning in the United States), if you want to make it feel more “local” a Bless Her heart once or twice would be all you would need. That is if you used it appropriately. Though I don’t know how far back in time that would be historically correct.
    Whenever a writer has used what I consider too much “accent” it does throw me out of the flow of the book.
    Though if I started reading a book and there were ton’s of Like’s in a sentence/paragraph I would have to immediately set it down otherwise it might get thrown across the room. Not even if the character is being historically correct would I be able to read that book.

    Reply
  137. I think any kind of local speech pattern can be over done. Kind of along the theory that less is more with only lite hints that flavor the writing.
    If you are writing a book set in the south (meaning in the United States), if you want to make it feel more “local” a Bless Her heart once or twice would be all you would need. That is if you used it appropriately. Though I don’t know how far back in time that would be historically correct.
    Whenever a writer has used what I consider too much “accent” it does throw me out of the flow of the book.
    Though if I started reading a book and there were ton’s of Like’s in a sentence/paragraph I would have to immediately set it down otherwise it might get thrown across the room. Not even if the character is being historically correct would I be able to read that book.

    Reply
  138. I think any kind of local speech pattern can be over done. Kind of along the theory that less is more with only lite hints that flavor the writing.
    If you are writing a book set in the south (meaning in the United States), if you want to make it feel more “local” a Bless Her heart once or twice would be all you would need. That is if you used it appropriately. Though I don’t know how far back in time that would be historically correct.
    Whenever a writer has used what I consider too much “accent” it does throw me out of the flow of the book.
    Though if I started reading a book and there were ton’s of Like’s in a sentence/paragraph I would have to immediately set it down otherwise it might get thrown across the room. Not even if the character is being historically correct would I be able to read that book.

    Reply
  139. I think any kind of local speech pattern can be over done. Kind of along the theory that less is more with only lite hints that flavor the writing.
    If you are writing a book set in the south (meaning in the United States), if you want to make it feel more “local” a Bless Her heart once or twice would be all you would need. That is if you used it appropriately. Though I don’t know how far back in time that would be historically correct.
    Whenever a writer has used what I consider too much “accent” it does throw me out of the flow of the book.
    Though if I started reading a book and there were ton’s of Like’s in a sentence/paragraph I would have to immediately set it down otherwise it might get thrown across the room. Not even if the character is being historically correct would I be able to read that book.

    Reply
  140. I think any kind of local speech pattern can be over done. Kind of along the theory that less is more with only lite hints that flavor the writing.
    If you are writing a book set in the south (meaning in the United States), if you want to make it feel more “local” a Bless Her heart once or twice would be all you would need. That is if you used it appropriately. Though I don’t know how far back in time that would be historically correct.
    Whenever a writer has used what I consider too much “accent” it does throw me out of the flow of the book.
    Though if I started reading a book and there were ton’s of Like’s in a sentence/paragraph I would have to immediately set it down otherwise it might get thrown across the room. Not even if the character is being historically correct would I be able to read that book.

    Reply
  141. I’ve not run across those words used in fiction, and I’m not entirely certain I’d use them in American English. But thank you for the reminder on “corn.” I knew it was one grain or another but my memory falters and I haven’t looked it up yet.
    It’s quite amazing a country seemingly so small as England manages to have so very many accents. We notice regional accents here, but many of our regions are twice the size or more of the UK!

    Reply
  142. I’ve not run across those words used in fiction, and I’m not entirely certain I’d use them in American English. But thank you for the reminder on “corn.” I knew it was one grain or another but my memory falters and I haven’t looked it up yet.
    It’s quite amazing a country seemingly so small as England manages to have so very many accents. We notice regional accents here, but many of our regions are twice the size or more of the UK!

    Reply
  143. I’ve not run across those words used in fiction, and I’m not entirely certain I’d use them in American English. But thank you for the reminder on “corn.” I knew it was one grain or another but my memory falters and I haven’t looked it up yet.
    It’s quite amazing a country seemingly so small as England manages to have so very many accents. We notice regional accents here, but many of our regions are twice the size or more of the UK!

    Reply
  144. I’ve not run across those words used in fiction, and I’m not entirely certain I’d use them in American English. But thank you for the reminder on “corn.” I knew it was one grain or another but my memory falters and I haven’t looked it up yet.
    It’s quite amazing a country seemingly so small as England manages to have so very many accents. We notice regional accents here, but many of our regions are twice the size or more of the UK!

    Reply
  145. I’ve not run across those words used in fiction, and I’m not entirely certain I’d use them in American English. But thank you for the reminder on “corn.” I knew it was one grain or another but my memory falters and I haven’t looked it up yet.
    It’s quite amazing a country seemingly so small as England manages to have so very many accents. We notice regional accents here, but many of our regions are twice the size or more of the UK!

    Reply
  146. LOL, with you on the “likes.” And I know the correct usage of Bless your heart and I imagine it dates back through the 20th century, at the least. But trying to write for an international audience… those little touches don’t always translate well. Like y’all.

    Reply
  147. LOL, with you on the “likes.” And I know the correct usage of Bless your heart and I imagine it dates back through the 20th century, at the least. But trying to write for an international audience… those little touches don’t always translate well. Like y’all.

    Reply
  148. LOL, with you on the “likes.” And I know the correct usage of Bless your heart and I imagine it dates back through the 20th century, at the least. But trying to write for an international audience… those little touches don’t always translate well. Like y’all.

    Reply
  149. LOL, with you on the “likes.” And I know the correct usage of Bless your heart and I imagine it dates back through the 20th century, at the least. But trying to write for an international audience… those little touches don’t always translate well. Like y’all.

    Reply
  150. LOL, with you on the “likes.” And I know the correct usage of Bless your heart and I imagine it dates back through the 20th century, at the least. But trying to write for an international audience… those little touches don’t always translate well. Like y’all.

    Reply

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