As writers, who want to share their stories with others, I believe, we have a duty to be pedantic about our use of language; that is, correct grammar and spelling. There will always be difficult, complicated and varied opinions about some aspects but we should do our very best and continue to learn.
Having said that, I think there are areas, especially with dialogue, we need to diverge from accuracy to correctly portray characters in words to our readers.
My favourite Australian writers is CJ Dennis.1 His writing can take some getting used to but, when read as it is written, you have a clear image of the speaker and their accent. Here is one example from his poem Doreen:
'Er name's Doreen ...Well, spare me bloomin' days!You could er knocked me down wiv 'arf a brick!
Yes, me, that kids meself I know their ways,
An' 'as a name for smoogin' in our click!
I just lines up 'an tips the saucy wink.
But strike! The way she piled on dawg! Yer'd think
A bloke was givin' back-chat to the Queen....
'Er name's Doreen.
Somehow it just would be the same written in pure English.
How much should authors follow purity in spelling and grammar especially with dialogue. The writer must convey his characters with some accuracy and if that character is supposed to have say an Irish accent then that is how it needs to be written to convey it to the reader. That cannot be done using ‘proper’ English
To accurately give an indication of person’s accent, or even their lack of education, it is beneficial to the reader if the author can have that reader “hear” the spoken word. Local jargon also helps the reader imagine the character.
These might be expressions used frequently in a particular country eg in Australia people are frequently greeted with g’day (good day) or if you are happy with something someone has done you might say ‘bewdy mate!’
Both England and Australia have sections of the community that use rhyming slang eg ‘I am going down the frog and toad’ (road).
However, there are some phrases and words common today that I believe should NOT be used because they are simply bad grammar. The one that annoys me the most is the common use of ‘yous’ as a plural for you.
What are your thoughts on the subject?