Apostrophe Addiction 101

By | April 23, 2009

Apostrophe abuse is a common malady in RP circles. When discovering our character’s voices, very often we discover their accent, affectations and dialects. First we start with dropping the ‘g’ and next you realize, you’re spelling words phonetically based on your characters regional dialect. There becomes “thar.” “Lord” becomes “Laird.” Curse words are used as punctuation marks. Some cases of apostrophe abuse are so advanced that every day writin’ skills are fouckin’ effected.

Accents are a fantastic way of communicating a character’s history and personality without telegraphing this information. They are by no means the only way of doing this; however, they are a popular method of RP on the server. Hell, there are even mods that will change your speech patterns in certain channels.

A couple of pointers on accents:

1) Stay consistent.

Remember Kevin Costner in Robin Hood? He could not maintain his English accent scene to scene. Try to stay consistent with your character’s accent when you RP. You may make changes to the accent–for instance, Bricu’s “You” turned into “Yeh”–and this is acceptable as long as it fits the characters overall voice.


2) Research

Anna researched Aely’s accent before RPing with her. I know of one character/Guild Leader who watches Trainspotting on a semi-regular basis to keep his accent fresh (I suspect he also reads some Irvine Welsh too).

One should also research what is the common accent within the context of ones regular RPers. Of course accents can vary between regions (Bricu, Aely and Tarq, while similar, have major differences in their speaking patters), there should be some consistency between all of them.

3) Be prepared to say it OOCly
Be ready to translate what you wrote in an OOC Channels. Reading all of your apostrophes and creatively spelled words does help develop your character’s voice; however, just as in real life, sometimes an accent makes communication difficult. Just accept the fact that some folks will not be able to read what you’re writing as easily as others.

Those are my Three Rules. I’m always looking for more ideas for improving accents–so share your ideas!


10 Comments

Itanya Blade on April 23, 2009 at 2:07 pm.

I actually have the hardest time when playing Then’liath than anyone. Since I usually play characters that have some version of colloquial (sp?) speech, playing one that speaks in precise and proper (Orcish or Thalassian) is a constant challenge.

Pill has to be easiest though, because she says what ever is in her head.

Anna on April 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm.

One thing that can make an accent really difficult to read (and one of the reasons people have trouble in particular with certain Rider’s accents) is that they choose to actually write out a lot of the vowel/consonant mutations.

More becomes muir. However becomes ‘owivver.

Aely’s accent base (Cumbrian, from an English mining region just south of the Scottish border) is particularly known for swallowing/dropping letters, especially r’s, g’s and t’s – and even ‘th’ from most words, and since that means a lot of what she says is missing letters, I pick and choose when to use the mutations, especially in words that lose letters, since it just becomes really difficult to read.

Nae, she’ll still do a wee bi’ ay mumblemouthin’, bu’s ne’er s’bad ‘s allat, y’ken?

The other thing that makes accents VERY real, but also more difficult to understand, is the use of colloquialisms. Aely uses “radge as a maggot” – which means “stark raving mad” and “fash” – which means worry/fret/bother, for instance. But be prepared to elaborate/explain those too!

From a non-accent standpoint, the best thing I can suggest to anyone trying to decipher these is to read them out loud. The vast majority of the time, they’re phonetic enough that you can get a pretty good idea what’s going on.

Itanya Blade on April 23, 2009 at 4:14 pm.

Hearing stuff like that makes me wish I played Cylinn more.

She’d be listening to Bricu or Tarq and she’d turn to whoever was close by that spoke normally.

“What did he just say?”

She used to just annoy Indarra, because heaven forbid the oh so proper priest use a little word when a large word would do.

Teuthida on April 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm.

I love seeing the different kinds of RP accents around. Teu’s isn’t accent so much as dialect and word choice, and she’s never gotten any smoother with it and probably never will. ^_^ Teu trying to puzzle out Tarquin’s accent is part of the reason “Greetings and sandwich rations!” took.

Illi on April 24, 2009 at 1:27 am.

I use your accents as a way to start ingame fights :D

Syrana on April 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm.

When I was RPing a Troll, the accents/dialects were quite interesting. It especially was interesting while interacting with other races. I would OOC translate as needed, but part of the fun we had was working off the language barrier. It challenged my character to find ways to express herself in a way others could understand her.

I still remember the Tauren that thought everything my Troll was saying was some sort of curse to be placed upon her. Hehe.

The other thing that was fun was having a player RP having difficulty understanding the thick accent and using emotes of hand motions and scratches in the dirt. ;)

Mac on April 27, 2009 at 4:13 am.

One of the things I particularly like about english styled accents is the huge variety to choose form. In the UK, people who live across a river from each other frequently speak a different dialect (and were at war with each other for hunderds of years and still beat up their football players) which makes for lots of interesting takes on character accents.

One of my favourites is the Welsh speech pattern. Its not so much that they pronounce words differently from me (and I am a Kiwi so I hear things differently than you folks from the US do), its the words they drop and the unusual order that some words turn up in.

“Dont right know.”

“Went down pub, me.”

“Got five pound?”

I can listen to (and do, theres a couple of Welsh boys who drink at my local) these accents for hours and Ive recently been shifting Mac’s speken accent to more of this style of speaking.

Arrens on April 27, 2009 at 9:02 am.

When I joined the RP scene Horde-side, it took me forever to get used to reading the Troll dialect and place it in a comfortable spot in my head so as to not take me reading it 15 times before it made sense. This is particularly true since Arrens speaks as I do (and is somewhat of a grammar freak, much like me).

And then I joined Alliance side RP and the whole Northern dialect makes me feel like I’m once more surrounded by Trolls and having to read and re-read it all many times over before finally understanding it. But Anna nailed it on the head. Reading it aloud does help to convey understanding to the pea that rattles around inside my skull.

falconesse on April 27, 2009 at 11:03 am.

From a non-accent standpoint, the best thing I can suggest to anyone trying to decipher these is to read them out loud. The vast majority of the time, they’re phonetic enough that you can get a pretty good idea what’s going on.

That’s part of my secret to being able to understand Tarquin and Kansin as easily as I do. Context is a lot of it as well, figuring out clusters of letters that MAKE NO SENSE by what’s surrounding them.

Though, sometimes it’s just a matter of having a running wordlist in my head — Kansin’s phonetics for “woman” and “human” always give me pause, and there was one night I had to translate Tarqspeak for Yva in an OOC channel — “‘Oan’ = ‘on,’ ‘yin’ = ‘one.’” — because both words made sense in whatever the sentence was, but they changed the whole meaning depending on which he’d meant.

Kansin on April 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm.

yu crazy. uumon and ‘umon dwon’t soun’ di same.