Slang – How Do You Feel About It? by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985)

Hi all,

Today I’d like to talk about a topic that comes up pretty regularly amongst myself and my writer buddies, and my editors.

Slang. In my case, British slang. As you know, I’m British, and so are the vast majority of my characters. Therefore they’re going to use British slang, or words that might not be used elsewhere in the world. It’s just naturally how those characters speak or think, and, I believe, how a story is given authenticity. When I’m reading, I love stories to have local flavour based on where they’re set, or where the character is from. It’s what makes a story interesting and unique. If all characters thought or sounded the same, wouldn’t books be dull?

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On the other hand, I do understand that if a word is present that a reader might not know, it can throw them a bit. But as a reader myself, I’ll generally pick up the meaning from the context of the sentence. If not, I’ll Google it.

Sometimes I have to fight (not literally, of course!) with my editors to keep certain words as there’s a concern that readers not from Britain won’t understand their meaning. Occasionally I’ll bend, if the context of the sentence doesn’t help with the meaning of the word. But more often, I’ll insist on keeping it. I don’t think it helps to remove that local flavour, which can often change the meaning of what I’ve written in the first place. It also insults the reader’s intelligence to assume they won’t get it, or look the word up, therefore learning something new.

What do you think? Do you like to read slang words from other countries? Does it add to the story for you? Do you look up words you don’t know the meaning of?

Happy Reading,

Lucy x

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

6 Responses to Slang – How Do You Feel About It? by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985)

  1. I have not read that much British Slang but a few words are different a jumper is I think a sweater, and we say panties but the Brits call them drawers, and bikes are push pedals so it does not make me crazy I just try to figure out what it is. But I do have a lot of Brits for friends so I can ask them.

  2. I don’t mind slang words at all – If I don’t know the meaning I’ll just look it up. I have noticed however it is always British or Aussie authors that ask about meanings. I get the impression that we should all know what Americanisms mean because I am yet to see a US based author ask on their page or street team – do you know what so and so means?
    There is one thing that does bug the hell out of me – books based in UK but motorways being called highways, cafe’s being called diners, pavements- sidewalks, tyres- tires and Mum-Mom (GRRRRRR) If the book is based in ta country (ie UK) IMHO these things should have the name used withing that country and now kowtow to American readers. Rant over!

    • Ugh, yes, I totally agree with UK-based books having Americanisms (unless, of course, the character/s are American!). It really stands out for me and I don’t like it at all, which is why I often have to put my foot down with editors and say “Well, my character is a Brit, and a Brit wouldn’t use that word/speak like that”. Authenticity is important.

      And yes, it is often assumed that it’s okay for non-US readers to not know what something means, but not the other way around.

  3. Karen shenton

    I love slang as long as it fits in with the setting if the book. I really enjoy encountering phrases I don’t know and googling their meaning too

    • Agree. That’s why I tend to stick with writing Brit characters, for the most part. It’s important to me that they speak the right way based on where they’re from, and use slang from where they’re from, if necessary.

      It’s really great that you enjoy encountering new phrases and words and looking them up. That’s a challenge for me, then! 😉