Where it once was more acceptable and common to see large uses of writing in manners that evoked a sense of dialect, today it is less preferred. If a reader must constantly be forced to stop the flow of reading to interpret strange phonetic spellings or snippets of a foreign language, his enjoyment of a work can be drastically diminished.
Some simple ways to hint at a character’s dialect include:
- Giving a narrative indication of the accent. The man’s Scottish brogue made the word sound like….
- Playing with the wording and syntax by leaving out words to hint at a non-native speaker. Pardon. Please to show, how to go….
- Using key words and phrases to imply the dialect. “Best be putting your hands up, pardner.”
There are also many nonverbal forms of dialogue, such as gestures, signs, and body language cues.
Helpful Websites for Writing Dialogue/Dialect
Australian Slang Dictionary
This is a site that has uniquely Australian slang only.
This is a site that explains the English language spoken in England.
This is a site that discusses what is known as Scottish Standard English, what is used in formal written texts.
A Dictionary of Slang