Do you speak Courier?
In the book I’m reading at the moment (Something Rotten, by Jasper Fforde), the author makes interesting use of typefaces to show the characters are talking different languages. For example, some characters speak in Courier Bold, while others speak Old English in an Old English style typeface:
The seventh revealment of St. Zvlkx
I’ve come across authors using fonts designed to look like foreign alphabets to show that their characters are speaking in a foreign language without having to write in that language, but don’t know of any other authors who use fonts in quite the same way as Jasper Fforde. Here are some examples of faux foreign fonts:
A way to indicate that characters are speaking in different dialects or varieties of a language is to use non-standard spellings – an eye dialect. Using non-standard spellings suggests that a particular dialect is being used, but doesn’t usually represent the pronunciation precisely. Here’s an example:
`Hush! Don’t `ee sing so loud, my good man,’said the landlady; in case any member of the Government should be passing, and take away my license.’
`He’s told `ee what’s happened to us, I suppose?’ asked Mrs Durbeyfield.
`Yes – in a way. D’ye think there’s any money hanging by it?’
From Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Some authors try to represent the pronunciation of dialects more faithfully, for example:
`Whet are ye for?’ he shouted. `T’ maister’s dahn i’ t’ fowld. Go rahnd by th’ end ut’ laith, if yah went tuh spake tull him.’
`Is there nobody inside to open the door?’ I hallooed, responsively.
`They’s nobbut t’ missis; and shoo’ll nut oppen’t an ye mak yer flaysome dins till neeght.’
`Why? Cannot you tell her who I am, eh, Joseph?’
`Nor-ne me! Aw’ll hae noa hend wi’t,’ muttered the head, vanishing.
From Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
What do you think of eye dialects and dialect writing?