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How to express accents/slang/languages?

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Mantis    0
Posted (edited)

I'll try to keep this short as possible to attract more people to this "question" we have in role playing accents or dialects in languages, in order to encourage more dialogue on the issues of this topic and hopefully a solution or defined rule to it. So basically I have seen a mixed usage of how people express different slang, accents, dialects, as well as, just another language itself, which I will address in a bulleted format.

  • Either a person will use /do Is speaking/speaks in [input language] or /me (which I think is incorrect anyways, as it used to describe actions or actions alone).
  •  They will put their language before speaking as is shown in this example (Russian) I think I like candy more than life itself.
  • They will write in a foreign language I.E speak the language. For the case of slangs and accents, people will have either correctly or incorrectly used a slang (which by the way is not so easily researched on public forums on the internet besides having actual contact with such slang in OOC means- in my opinion).

Anyway, these three aforementioned bullet points are the examples in which I have seen then the use of slang/accents/languages. I would like some clarification for the topic so people can role play with more fluidity and provide a better general experience to people role playing people of different backgrounds.

For me personally I think this is an interesting topic to the roleplay community as I have done much research on the topic and have found little answers to this. 

Edited by Mantis

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Fergie    15
Posted (edited)

Personally if it’s slang, I type it out. For example, one of my characters speaks with a strong north eastern Ghetto-ish accent. He’ll talk like: “Na’ man. I ‘unno what you’re talkin’ ‘bout. Get th’ fuck outta’ere.” 

I have another character that speaks broken English and fluent Italian. So he say he was trying to ask for a glass of whisky:

”Eh...I wan’...eh-...come si dice-..eh.. whee-ski”. 

OR if he was talking in Italian: 

“[ITA] This is how I talk in Italian.” 

I really think it’s personal preference at the end of the day. 

Edited by Fergie

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HaveADream    309

Good question.


My characters recently all come from Los Santos. As such, I listened to some people from Los Angeles speak and I try to represent that phonetically in the actual sentence.


In reality, I think it's up to you to roleplay the accent in whatever way you wish, explaining the little answers you've found, there's no wrong answers to it.

  • Thanks 1

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sio    34
Posted (edited)

If you're portrying an Irish character don't use 'lass', I suggest watching some Youtube videos if you'd like to go with a particular local dialect. Since we all speak fluent English and can quickly adapt to English and even American ears, it's more likely someone will be easier to understand if they have been living in a predominantly anglo country like Australia, the USA, England, etc.


I'd suggest replacing 'yes' with 'aye', no with 'naw' and using 'lad' instead of things like bro or dude.


As for local accents, I'm currently playing a second-generation Korean who grew up in a poor, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood aswell as someone who has been influenced by African-American culture in the media, so I use a lot of (what I think is) common Los Angeles slang mixed with some Hispanic and ebonic words.


Edit: Since I don't actually speak Korean, I do the old trusty tactic of putting (Language) at the start of a sentence to represent and try and sprinkle some romanized Korean words into casual conversation.

Edited by sio

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Mantis    0
Posted (edited)

I agree with you so much @HaveADream  . While not trying to suggest anything; I feel like when people actually write out slang it's hit pretty decently sometimes or just completely off the mark. Again without trying to suggest anything, I like the idea that we could be more open to ways we could express dialects/slangs/languages when we interact within people of our IC circles. I feel like this could help break the ice, if you will, into role playing different cultures or subcultures as rules and investigations are developed and norms of the server of a particular dialect/slang are slowly established and reciprocated around the community and the ability to [input language] when you don't know the language at all. I feel this may be a good idea in dealing with this topic without being too stereotypical of other people in which someone may have no contact with at all besides just watching a movie or book, etc.. Although I think the use of foreign languages is perhaps by nature a negative into power gaming rules or at least adds more grounds in which to power game, so perhaps not.

Edited by Mantis
mispell,grammar mistakes, added more information.redacted stuff that seemed to suggest something

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Serower    38

When I was running a Cartel on the server, most players in my faction were unable to speak English in-character. We had rules regarding this, and it was fairly simple.


You can use one or two words in Spanish, but you can't use double language brackets.


For example: You can say "Hola" in the chat, but you can't say "(Spanish) Hola" because it simply looked very off. As for accents, the best way to portray that is through the way you form text in-game and communicate with others. You can hint at it by saying your character comes from that place and that should generally be enough to give people an understanding of your character's background.

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hentai!    25

Personally I just have "Speaks with X accent." in my /attributes. If my character is American, but with a specific CITY/REGION accent I just roll with it and use normal English for the most part. Or I can throw a quick "/do Vincent speaks with a thick Liberty City Italian accent" or "/do Raymond sounds like he just got here from Boston, his accent has slight Irish influence, which is normal for someone from Boston." if you wanna be more... poetic? I don't know. Since in America, English around the whole country is pretty much the same for the most part I just use normal American English when I speak IC.


When I RP-ed foreign characters, such as Russians or Germans I'd purposefully mispronounce words and indicate it in chat SUBTLY. You don't want your speech to look unintelligible, unless that's 100% what you're aiming for. "Zhe" instead of "The" and "Vat" instead of "What" is something I can get behind if your character is idk... German or Russian, whatever. Like this:

Kristoffer Braunstein says: Vat you just say to me? Mann! I don't understand anyzhing zhis man is saying.

Or you can just say something in normal English and hit them with a /do like this:

"Kristoffer Braunstein says: What did you just say to me? Man, I don't understand anything this man is saying.
(/do) Kristoffer speaks with a very heavy, borderline scary German accent. With that said, some words that come out of his mouth can be quite hard to understand, though the sentence should come through loud and clear."

Also, yeah, when you're speaking in a different language you just add [Language] before what you're saying. Avoid using actual words in the said language though, as it just looks goofy. It's kind of common courtesy on roleplay servers that you shouldn't really use foreign languages but rather "[Language] <English Input.>"

Kristoffer Braunstein says: [German] Man, I love cabbage.

Kristoffer Braunstein says: [German] Ja, ja, ja, was ist los? Was ist das? You got a new car? Schön!

Next point, mentioned before by someone else that I can get behind. PERSONALLY I want my speech to look pretty and clean, that's why I always seperate my English and foreign sentences. But you do you. I recommend doing this:

Kristoffer Braunstein says: [German] What a beautiful day.
Kristoffer Braunstein says: Anyways, what's up?

Kristoffer Braunstein says: Bro, hold up, let me just do this right quick. [German] Man this dude is kinda weird.

In conclusion, type out one sentence in [German] and click enter. Then type one in English. Nobody really switches languages mid-sentence and it looks bad and confusing.


Now for slang. Slang, by definition is just a bunch of words a specific group of people uses. I think what you mean is things like AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) which are kind of like their own languages in my opinion. Slang is just words. Calling marijuana "mota" as a Latino or calling cocaine "whitey" or "snow".

AAVE is what you can hear in black neighborhoods across America. That's something only black people speak, because they've created their language like that. Examples? Double negatives like "I AIN'T got NO beef wit'chu." which translates to "I don't want problems." - double negatives should mean a positive, but in AAVE it's still a negative. Personally, I do not consider AAVE a SLANG, it's something much bigger than a few words and requires a lot more knowledge. When using AAVE IC, avoid putting apostrophes at the end of every word to make them shorter. When we see your character is a black male, we can just assume he speaks AAVE. You don't need to show it in every sentence that he shortens words and what not.

If you're just a normal Joe, who got talked into snorting a bunch of cocaine with hot mallrat chicks you'll probably ask "Where are we buying the cocaine, guys?" and not "Alright, so... where are we getting the snow?". When it comes to EXPRESSING slang - just avoid talking a lot of slang lingo if you're just some casual 22-year old Joe who works a 9 to 5 job in a mechanic shop. If I were a basic Joe, I wouldn't call guns "heaters" or marijuana "gas".

In conclusion to all of this - it's all about balance and you have multiple options to express yourself. Apostrophes are what's frowned upon. You see too many apostrophes in someone's sentence and you just go "But why? It's so unnecessary". Other than that - knowledge is what you need - have fun.

EDIT: I recommend this guide.


Edited by hentai!

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