Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we know

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Ear of the Sphinx
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Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we know

Post by Ear of the Sphinx » 14 Jan 2015 21:50

I just wonder, what are the differences between the conventions regarding dialogues in books in various languages.

For example, in most books written in English, you'll see the conversation written that way:
I am bloody hungry, thought James.
“Do you have a sandwich for spare?” he asked Mary. “I have brought no food.”
“Sorry, I have nothing to eat”, she lied.
However, the Polish way is always like that:
„I am bloody hungry”, thought Jakub.
— Do you have a sandwich for spare? — he asked Maria. — I have brought no food.
— Sorry, I have nothing to eat. — she lied.
I have also seen something like that done in French in German texts. I don't know, however, how much of a starndard those are.

German:
I am bloody hungry, thought Jakob.
»Do you have a sandwich for spare?« he asked Maria. »I have brought no food.«
»Sorry, I have nothing to eat«, she lied.
French:
« I am bloody hungry », thought Jacques.
— Do you have a sandwich for spare ? he asked Marie. I have brought no food.
— Sorry, I have nothing to eat, she lied.
What are your opinions?
What do you find the most aesthetically pleasing? What other conventions do you know of? What do you use when writing in your conlangs?
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Ahzoh » 14 Jan 2015 22:01

I use things that look like the French triangle things «...» in the native script of Vrkhazhian.
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 14 Jan 2015 23:45

Guillemets.
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Creyeditor » 15 Jan 2015 00:53

Ear of the Sphinx wrote:I just wonder, what are the differences between the conventions regarding dialogues in books in various languages.
[...]
What are your opinions?
What do you find the most aesthetically pleasing? What other conventions do you know of? What do you use when writing in your conlangs?
German dialogues ...
In school we learned it had to be like this:
„I am bloody hungry.“, thought Jakob.
„Do you have a sandwich for spare?“, he asked Maria,„I have brought no food.“
„Sorry, I have nothing to eat.“, she lied.
Or even better:
Jakob thought:„I am bloody hungry. “
He asked Maria:„Do you have a sandwich for spare? I have brought no food.“
She lied:„Sorry, I have nothing to eat.“
But nobody actually uses these.
Actually I've often seen it like the following:
I am bloody hungry, thought Jakob.
Do you have a sandwich for spare?, he asked Maria, I have brought no food.
Sorry, I have nothing to eat, she lied.
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by clawgrip » 15 Jan 2015 00:55

Kind of tricky, since Japanese word order is all different in English, but here is a typical Japanese way to do it:
「I am bloody hungry」.
James thought.
「Do you have a sandwich to spare?」 He asked Marie. 「I have brought no food.」
That 「Sorry, I have nothing to eat」.
She lied.
The separation of the quote and non-quote into separate lines is optional and done based on how the author's feeling.

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Ahzoh » 15 Jan 2015 01:16

I know, not really a natlang, but...

In my conlang Vrkhazhian, dialogue is said like this:
Arash-Hijunu «Do you mind handing me my Tqamurkh?» (he) said.
Nguraba «Yes, Great Emperor, I have it right here» (she) said.
A character always have to be named, even if they are named "mysterious person" for instance, as such:
A mysterious person walked into the bar approaching the bartender, Mysterious person «I'd like a quart, please» said.
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Lao Kou » 15 Jan 2015 01:41

Image Géarthnuns:

„I am bloody hungry.” thought Íakobs.
„Do you have a sandwich for spare?” he asked Marts „I have brought no food.”
„Sorry, I have nothing to eat.” she lied.
Last edited by Lao Kou on 26 Mar 2016 06:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by elemtilas » 15 Jan 2015 02:26

:con: Talarian:

RA-I am bloody hungry-RA thought / said Yakamas.

Talarian lacks a lot of niceties, like punctuation marks, so speech particles will have to do. Like most classifiers and particles and other oddments of the orthography, the "RA...RA" are not actually pronounced. If Yakamas is a saint or a god, then his words of direct speech are written in Yllurian, rather than in Talarian. Also, the personal name itself is generally enclosed in a red box. With dots around.

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by shimobaatar » 15 Jan 2015 02:47

Ear of the Sphinx wrote:I just wonder, what are the differences between the conventions regarding dialogues in books in various languages.

For example, in most books written in English, you'll see the conversation written that way:
I am bloody hungry, thought James.
“Do you have a sandwich for spare?” he asked Mary. “I have brought no food.”
“Sorry, I have nothing to eat”, she lied.
I don't know if this is a British vs. American thing (since the line in question uses "bloody" as an intensifier and "for spare" - I hadn't heard that before), but I wouldn't say that italics for thoughts in English are standard or common (at least not based on my personal experience). I usually just see quotes followed by "X thought" instead of "X said".

Also, „QUOTE“ for German and «QUOTE» for Spanish were what I learned in school, but since those were foreign language classes, I never heard anyone get told off for using the English "QUOTE".

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Dormouse559 » 15 Jan 2015 07:25

I seem to remember italics for thoughts being rather common. Whether they're the most popular choice, I can't say.

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Ear of the Sphinx » 15 Jan 2015 12:06

I don't know if this is a British vs. American thing (since the line in question uses "bloody" as an intensifier and "for spare" - I hadn't heard that before), but I wouldn't say that italics for thoughts in English are standard or common (at least not based on my personal experience). I usually just see quotes followed by "X thought" instead of "X said".
Well, it's just a sample written by me, and I am a non-native, so it could look weird.
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by alynnidalar » 15 Jan 2015 16:18

I've seen it both ways in American writing. In my own writing, I tend toward italics, just because I think it makes the distinction easier.

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by shimobaatar » 15 Jan 2015 21:25

Hmm… I tend to use italics for emphasis. Oh well, it doesn't really matter that much in terms of the thread's topic.

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Dormouse559 » 15 Jan 2015 22:01

Italics for thoughts vs. italics for emphasis

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Egerius » 15 Jan 2015 22:09

Dormouse559 wrote:Italics for thoughts vs. italics for emphasis
Spoiler:
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Dormouse559 » 15 Jan 2015 22:18

Not really. Italics for emphasis usually go on a few words at most, whereas thought italics cover whole sentences and are tagged with "so-and-so thought".

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Ahzoh » 15 Jan 2015 22:20

I'd use bold for emphasis... though in a book that might be weird... well, if too frequent
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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by shimobaatar » 19 Jan 2015 05:04

Ahzoh wrote:I'd use bold for emphasis... though in a book that might be weird... well, if too frequent
Yeah, that's why I personally prefer italics for emphasis and relying on word choice to indicate unspoken dialogue.

This is just getting down to personal preference at this point. If there's anything to be learned from this, it's that English conventions for this kind of thing aren't all that standardized/set in stone.

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Prinsessa » 23 Jan 2015 09:42

I avoid writing any type of speech lines, quotation marks or the like to mark conversations in my stories. I feel it breaks the flow of the text, so I just use phrases in the text like "he told her off" or "she gave him a positive reply and so they went off" or the like.

I focus a bit more on descriptions and it's generally more about emotions and descriptions than dialogue, so it works out. I tend to write in the past tense and describe what once happened to lead up to this point instead of letting it play out.

Anyway, most commonly used for quotation in Sweden is probably ”…” whereas — … without any marks is used for speech. I prefer «…» myself, tho.
Last edited by Prinsessa on 23 Jan 2015 10:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Conventions for writing dialogues in the languages we kn

Post by Ahzoh » 23 Jan 2015 09:47

Does anything think my conlang's dialogue method is weird?
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