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Italics and languages

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Italics and languages

Post  faraway on Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:01 am

So this has been bugging me for a while. In my fantasy WIP, my MC can speak all the languages in her world (not Earth). Should I italicize it when a character is speaking in a different language, even though she can understand?

Why aren’t you at the party, Princesses?” It’s a group of men, and they don't much older than us. Their language is full of longs vowels and sh’s so that every sentence sounded like one long hush.

The MC can understand it, but it's still a different language. Italicize it? It becomes very cumbersome when whole conversations are spoken in a foreign language.


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Re: Italics and languages

Post  Matthew on Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:47 pm

I've read books where characters speak in different languages, but the foreign dialogue isn't in italics. The author just mentions that they're speaking in different languages. For example,

'Where have you hidden the treasure?' the pirate asked me in Russian.
'Somewhere you'll never find it!' I replied defiantly.

That said, because it's fantasy (and by the sounds of it, a made-up language - not Elven or Dwarfish) it might be easier to italicise the dialogue than mention it by name (which could confuse people). If it is Even or Dwarfish you get away with mentioning the language, as in my example.

But, it's your story, and I think either way would be fine. Just be consistent.

Hope that helps!
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