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Describing Accents

writingwithcolor:

Anonymous asked: Hey there! In the story I am writing it takes place on a different planet. However I really want a certain race of people to have African accents. How do I describe accents that don’t necessarily exist? I hope that made sense!

There’s a wealth of ways to encapsulate an accent, what with all the words available to you. It’s a matter of how straight-forward or creative you want to go. Maybe some of the methods below will help.

Adjective:

  • She had a fragile accent.
  • The people had throaty voices, sawing out words in blunt grumbles.

Metaphoric:

  • His voice was splinters and broken glass.
  • Her accent had a song-like quality that reminded her of swaying tides.

Straight-forward:

  • He had a French accent.
  • “I have to go,” she said, though from her accent, French, the words sounded more like “I hive tego.”

Straight-forward & ‘Technical’:

  • He had a French accent, perhaps Northern, his voice lilting the edges of his vowels and dragging out others.

Some methods work better in combination with others, such as straight-forward combined with technical (as shown). It truly shouldn’t take many sentences to give readers enough info to imagine how someone’s voice or accent sounds. Therefore I wouldn’t overdue the clues, as it can stir into offensive.

More Reading:

~Mod Colette

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