Monday, September 30, 2013

Hi, I'm From Fedville

So here I am again writing from a reader’s point of view. Actually it starts as more of a comment on the vast variety of the way people in the US speak and how it effects writing.

I’m a Midwesterner born and bred. If you hear me speak I say ‘fer’ instead of ‘for’ more often than I wish. I say ‘wash’ but my husband says ‘warsh’. How one can get their tongue around to say it like that is beyond me. ‘Gotta’ comes from my lips even though I know better. I end sentences with prepositions without thinking.

As I read I see the decline in the US education system. That will account for part of a writer’s errors but the advent of computers is another. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm advocate of the paperless society. If it’s on paper I can guarantee I will lose it. Spellcheck is my BFF.

The trouble comes when the way someone types a word is as they say it. It’s not spelled like that but rather as another real word. I have a friend who says ‘quite’ instead of ‘quiet’ because he’s from the South and speaks that way.  In speech we understand because of the context. When reading we note the use of the incorrect word.

We are all familiar with homonyms. These are words which trip us up because they sound the same but are spelled differently. There, their and they’re. Two, to and too. Your and you’re. These are often misused.

What about words people say differently because they live in the South or New England states for example? I’ve found ‘then’ and ‘than’ switched consistently in several books I’ve read recently. I got to thinking that the writer may actually pronounce them as they write them knowing the correct meaning. They may simply have forgotten the correct spelling because what they hear and say is different. Unfortunately, it is still incorrect and a reviewer may very well make a comment.

So what’s with the title of this post? My sister had a friend in college who said he was from Fedville, Arkansas. It was months, maybe the entire time they were in school, before she found out it was Fayetteville not Fedville. 





Sophie Dawson is an award winning author of Christian Fiction. She lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. Her characters demonstrate the courage and strength it takes to live in faith and obedience to the Word of God.
Sophie blogs one a week on her website sophie-dawson.com as well as thebarndoor.net in addition to AuthorCulture.com.
She has recently released her fourth and fifth books, Leah’s Peace and Chasing Norie.
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3 comments:

  1. Oh, funny. We were chatting on facebook about missing song lyrics, too, a week ago. I was at a conference last weekend where a movie script writer was talking about dialog and how dialect can either make or ruin a good story.

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  2. I understand. I'm from Loovull (Louisville KY).

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  3. I don't mind the judicious use of dialect in dialogue, but for narrative writers ought to know the difference between how their words are said and how they're spelled. You've found "then" and "than" mixed up, and I often find "further" and "farther" mixed up. Since I'm from the South where we often pronounce both forms as "further," I'm often guilty of this mistake.

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