Using a foreign language

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Chantelle.S.
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Joined: April 5th, 2011, 7:22 pm
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Using a foreign language

Post by Chantelle.S. » September 30th, 2011, 6:42 pm

Hi Nathan,

I was just curious about this. I've seen writers use a few words in a different language in their work, whether it be Spanish or French or German, as a means for a sophisticated/foreign character to express themselves. Most of Europe and America are familiar with at least one of those languages.

I want to use a couple of foreign words/expressions for a character of mine as well, but the language I want to use is not a universal/well known language. It's only spoken in one part of the world, so chances are, unless the reader comes from the same country, nobody will have any idea what language it is or what it means.

Would doing this lessen the chances of getting an agent? Is a few foreign words in an English novel off-putting to agents when they don't understand what it means?

Thanks in advance,
C.S.
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King

http://smithee24.blogspot.com/
http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1570694/Clairavance

longknife

Re: Using a foreign language

Post by longknife » October 1st, 2011, 11:21 am

A basic rule is - when you use a foreign word for the first time, put it in italics and follow it with an explanation in parenthesis.

Example - Buenos dias (Good day) my friend. How do things go with you today.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Using a foreign language

Post by Nathan Bransford » October 7th, 2011, 1:11 am

Chantelle.S. wrote:Hi Nathan,

I was just curious about this. I've seen writers use a few words in a different language in their work, whether it be Spanish or French or German, as a means for a sophisticated/foreign character to express themselves. Most of Europe and America are familiar with at least one of those languages.

I want to use a couple of foreign words/expressions for a character of mine as well, but the language I want to use is not a universal/well known language. It's only spoken in one part of the world, so chances are, unless the reader comes from the same country, nobody will have any idea what language it is or what it means.

Would doing this lessen the chances of getting an agent? Is a few foreign words in an English novel off-putting to agents when they don't understand what it means?

Thanks in advance,
C.S.
This is definitely one of those things where if it works it works and if it doesn't it doesn't. I'd just go with your gut and see what happens!

Chantelle.S.
Posts: 76
Joined: April 5th, 2011, 7:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Using a foreign language

Post by Chantelle.S. » October 11th, 2011, 10:32 pm

Thank you! ^_^
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King

http://smithee24.blogspot.com/
http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1570694/Clairavance

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