Tuesday, June 4, 2013

IWSG - Realistic Speech Patterns

On the off chance you don't know it, it's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group.  I'm pretty sure it's never too late to join....

This week, I am doing what probably no one else anywhere is doing.  As part of the research for my historical novels, I'm reading a book on Appalachian speech patterns written by two linguists, one of whom is apparently a rather famous one.  How odd is it that I know the relative fame of linguists?

I find it amusing that linguists (at least the ones whose books I've read so far) don't write in a way that's particularly easy to understand.  You'd think they'd be able to pick the exact perfect words to get their point across since theoretically they know them all.  I had a similar experience when I worked with speech therapists in a former job. 

It's a difficult read, but I'm certain it will be worth it.   

I also plan to listen to the lovely collection of oral histories that the librarians at the University of Kentucky library were kind enough to send me along with the transcripts.  They have recordings of relatively recent interviews of women that lived in coal towns in Appalachia in the early 1900's.  I like listening to them much more than reading them.  In the last one I listened to, the woman's voice softened when she told about losing her babies to scarlet fever.  It brought a tear to my eye.  She was an old woman when the recording was made, but you could hear in her voice the pain she still felt. 

I've lived all my life with people that came from the hills, most of whom left to get work in the city (Cincinnati) and some of whom tried their best to wipe any traces of that past from their speech.  Others held onto their speech patterns and knew it was a part of their heritage they should be proud of - or maybe they couldn't hear they talk differently.

When I read a chapter of my historical novel to my class, the professor who came to critique it (me) said she thought Appalachians don't actually drop the final G in words like looking or talking.  I'm guessing they do - because I didn't know I was dropping my G's when I read it, and the G's were right there on the page.  She suggested I research this so I can justify my choices, and I think that's a good idea too.

What has this to do with insecurities?  Nothing except that I'm not feeling insecure.  I feel like I'm on the right path with my writing - it's just an incredibly slow one. 

I just hope to be feeling better soon so I can pick up the pace a bit. 

I think I'll be away from here for a while - maybe in and out. 


  1. Tonja, that's awesome! Glad you are on track.

  2. "I find it amusing that linguists (at least the ones whose books I've read so far) don't write in a way that's particularly easy to understand. You'd think they'd be able to pick the exact perfect words to get their point across since theoretically they know them all."

    LOL. You'd think....

  3. Everything is so slow! I'm with you there. And thanks for this post!

  4. We all want things to go much faster than they do. If only! So glad everything else is going your way. :) Writer’s Mark

  5. Hope you feel better soon. And slow and steady wins the race. I'm into my fourth year of writing this novel.

  6. Love reading that you're not feeling insecure and instead feel on the right track. How awesome is that? Hope you're feeling much better soon and can get to the pace you want to be at.

    And I bet those recordings are fascinating.

  7. Hi, I found you through Alex's Insecure Writer's Support Group.

    Sounds like you're in a good place with your writing. I feel like that too, and like you, it's slow going. Good but slow.

  8. It's always reassuring to read someone is on the right path with their writing. That's wonderful! I hope you are feeling better soon. Healing vibes headed your way.

  9. Hope you feel better soon. I love that you feel like you're on the right track!

  10. That sounds like to much fun! The more of Appalachian culture i'm exposed to the more I like it- particularly the music.

    And hey- if your gut says you're on the right track then trust it and run with it! I'm sure the speed increase will come naturally.

  11. Thorough research is always a plus when writing...

  12. Good for you. Sounds like you're doing great research.

  13. I'm digging the trend in your IWSG posts - no insecurity, just "I'm working and seeing results and that makes me happy." Which is awesome, so congrats!
    Some Dark Romantic