Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Differences: A New Series Coming Soon!

I've been thinking about the different words/terms that people from different countries use.

Why?

Well, I've been thinking about target audiences and settings of stories and stuff like that...
If I write a story set in South Africa, then it makes sense to use the "South African" terminology I've grown up with. But what if I write a story set somewhere else? The US, the UK, Australia... Or what if it's a made up location that could actually be anywhere you want to imagine it to be, but the biggest market for that type of story is NOT in the country you've grown up in?

It makes sense to use words and terms that your audience understands, doesn't it?
(Plus I'm just curious!)

So I'm going to be doing a few posts based on various YA-type topics (because those are the stories I write!) where I tell you how it is in my country, and then you tell me (pretty please!) how it is in your country :-)

Watch this space!




8 comments:

Madeleine said...

Interesting idea. I read a book that was supposed to be about British people and yet one of the characters referred to her fringe as bangs! One of the things I love about 'The No1 Ladies Detective Agency' is learning about the culture and language through the characters and plot :O)

Libby said...

This is a cool idea. If you wanted to see a similar topic by an author you may want to look at Junot Diaz (I'm sure there are many examples but his is the first I thought of). He used two languages with the Spanish untranslated mostly and used a lot of slang. He was ridiculed for it and applauded for it. I thought it worked well. -- sorry if this is scatterbrained, I just got off work.

Shallee said...

This sounds awesome! Can't wait to read more.

Donna Weaver said...

Good thinking. An interesting comparison can be found in the Bloomsbury and Scholastic versions of Harry Potter.

I have some British friends who are HP fans, and we've talked about some of the terms. For example, clothing. A jumper in the U.K. is a cardigan, while in the U.S. it's a girl's dress that's worn with a shirt of top (because it wouldn't cover all the top otherwise).

RaShelle said...

Great idea, Rachel. Looking forward to it. =D

Hart Johnson said...

I think this is a great idea. I think the language in books can really bring you into the setting. I know editors sometimes insist on some changes (think about the first 3 Harry Potter books--US editors were SURE we wouldn't understand certain terms so they changed them--finally by the 4th, I think they gave in to our willingness to call a sweater a jumper). I read 'Tomorrow When The War Began' (full series) and the Australian slang helped pull me into the setting a lot (there was a mini-dictionary at the end)

Rachna Chhabria said...

This sounds a great idea, waiting to reads more of your posts.

Kittie Howard said...

This is a great idea, Rachel. It's not just international. My friend from western Pennsylvania thought cupboards were closets and closets were cupboards. Even closer, in the Deep South we 'fix' everything, from dinner to a chair's leg (which many of those outside the south either don't get or think is cute, sorta.)

I totally ADORE McCall Smith's books (all lined up in my bookcase) and looove how he sticks to the local culture.