I am a writer that likes reviews. I love to hear what a reader thinks about a book, where the author got it right, or in fact wrong. That’s part of how we learn, from constructive criticism. However, I am not supposed to actually have an opinion on what the reader thinks…which I think is a little pointless if the reader got it wrong or completely missed the point and therefore they didn’t enjoy the book. Shouldn’t we all be open to an explanation if we haven’t understood something?
One of the things that often comes up is this… Dialect differences.
I am from the UK. I grew up in London and my accent is very much a part of who I am. As I imagine it is for a lot of people. Now, you might be reading this and imagining that I speak like Mary Poppins, or maybe you hear an Australian like Cate Blanchett, wonderful beautifully spoken English. Who knows, but that isn’t how I sound. How I speak is with a dialect, an accent, common and often vulgar. I speak like I neva learnt how t’talk proper, Ya get me?
I speak with words like cos and ya know and yep and yeah, I used words like init and isit?. And sometimes, that’s just how one of my characters speaks.
So, when you read a book and a character speaks a certain way, its the author’s way of helping you hear the voice… Just the same as when Texans say Y’all or Hippies are all ‘Yeah man, and Californian surfers are Hey dude, that’s so rad!
Cam Thomas comes from London, she’s from the south of London. Where people say was and not were. Mate, you was great! Lemme get ya a pint.
It isn’t bad editing, terrible proofreading or a lack of intelligence… it’s just about characters and opening the door to more than just well-spoken people. It’s about using words to create sound! It’s about using sound to establish a character trait. It’s background.
And also, there are many, many words within the English dictionary which America and other parts of the world might not use or understand… that’s fine if you never learnt them. It doesn’t make it any less of a word just because you choose to ridicule it, it just makes you look a little dim when you sarcastically try to imply the author doesn’t understand.
So, please read books with an open mind… understand that dialogue isn’t always meant to be perfect grammatically. It’s part of the story.
Next time you pick up a book and the dialogue looks a little different to how you expected, just go with it and maybe, just maybe you will get a feel for the character that perfect grammar would have lost!