Dear Publisher/s and/or Author/s
Two thumbs up for recently producing and creating m/m romances set in the Land of Oz. That’s pretty awesome.
What’s not so great is the whole use of American idioms and language in what is meant to be an Australian story.
Well, to be completely honest, it’s more than ‘not so great’.
It’s completely and utterly fucked.
For example, ‘shift’ is a doing word. That is, you ‘shift’ something. It is definitely not a car. For future reference, a car with gears and a clutch thingy is called a ‘manual’ here.
Yeah. Not really that similar, is it.
Also, we Aussies don’t go outside to ‘grill’. That would be something healthy people do inside their house; hopefully in the kitchen. We Aussies throw shrimps and
roadkill other stuff on the ‘barbie’. That would be our slang for a barbecue.
Yeah. That may sound familiar to some of you.
Oh, and that argument about changing words so Americans readers can understand what’s going on??
(a) I’m pretty sure most of them aren’t as stupid as you think they are,
(b) don’t be so bloody lazy,
(c) that’s why God invented Google, and
(d) the rest of the world manages to deal with it so get a friggin’ clue already!
Kris of Kris ‘n’ Good Books.
🙂 You and I have lots of stuff in common! Whenever I read books with Spanish in them and it's wrong… drives me insane.
I totally feel your pain with this… it's really not so much to ask. Especially, when you have actual Australians that are going to read the books and KNOW THEY'RE WRONG… sigh. I think I'm easily excitable today 😦
Crap. Strikes werekangas off submission list.
I may have publicly complained a *ahem* few times about how nuts it makes me when people set books in the UK but use US vocab. I can imagine it must feel the same for you as it does me.
Curious what book triggered this one! 🙂
Can't say I've heard of a manual transmission car described as a “shift”, though.
We shift gears through a manual gearbox here but don't call it a shift. I think most of our words here are the same as Australia, though, aren't they?
There was a discussion on GR recently about smelt and smelled & some people seemed quite up-in-arms about it, convinced it wasn't a proper word!
Those of us brought up learning non-US grammar tend to just get on and read a book rather than moan about missing u's, etc.
Juni! How dare you say such things!
Amen to Kris. Although it must be “real”. Not like adding a “mate” here and there to get the Oz vibe in a book. It goes deeper then that.
This is what I think of when I hear “smelt“…
smelt is something you do to metal, isn't it?
It can be called a stick shift or a “stick”. I drive a stick and if you have the old fashioned truck with the shifter on the steering wheel it's referred to as “three on the tree” but that could be a Canadian thing.
See we cover all the bases, we call it a stick shift AND a manual transmission or just manual. We have chip trucks that serve French fries. We like to keep everyone happy, Mother England and our rather large neighbo(u) to the south.
Mariana: “I totally feel your pain with this… it's really not so much to ask. Especially, when you have actual Australians that are going to read the books and KNOW THEY'RE WRONG… sigh.”
I agree. It doesn't seem too much to ask at all. I've proofed US-authored books set in the UK to make idioms and language match. Why not make sure the same happens for stories set in Oz??
Tam: Have you actually submitted that werekanga story anywhere or what?
“We like to keep everyone happy, Mother England and our rather large neighbo(u) to the south.”
You spelt/spelled neighbour wrong. Just sayin'.
Jen: *high fives*
“I may have publicly complained a *ahem* few times about how nuts it makes me when people set books in the UK but use US vocab.”
I may have done the same myself for books set in the UK and in Oz. It drives me bat shit.
And, yes, smelting is a part of the process of dealing with minerals.
Chris: There were three books actually.
“Can't say I've heard of a manual transmission car described as a “shift”, though.”
A shift stick then? I probably got it wrong myself. Oh, irony of ironies. 😛
Stick shift or manual. 🙂
Three books? Oh, my. That would get me going.
Juni: “I think most of our words here are the same as Australia, though, aren't they?”
“There was a discussion on GR recently about smelt and smelled & some people seemed quite up-in-arms about it, convinced it wasn't a proper word!”
Been there done that. Although I think the word for me was 'learnt' vs 'learned'. I ended up advised the person that it would go really badly for them if the tried to 'correct' my use of 'learnt'.
“Those of us brought up learning non-US grammar tend to just get on and read a book rather than moan about missing u's, etc.”
Oh, I complain about it, but I am also so used to reading it that it hasn't bothered me for a very long time.
Ingrid: “Although it must be “real”. Not like adding a “mate” here and there to get the Oz vibe in a book. It goes deeper then that.”
Well said, Ingrid. Make a real effort instead of doing something half-arsed. In fact, one of the books did exactly that, but the shift, stick thing totally threw my off.
Chris: “Three books? Oh, my. That would get me going.”
I completely agree with you on this one. I have the same issue when authors think they know what southern Americans sound like, say, it. You'd be surprised how many people don't get that “y'all” is plural. Grr.
Here people call manual transmissions stick shifts or straight drives. Something cooked on a grill is grilled. It isn't barbecued unless you use BBQ sauce and then you'd better make sure it's the right kind of sauce. 🙂
Is this the same book that has the line that went something like, “I won't judge you for who you chose to love.”
Choose?????? Somebody needs to tell this author that being gay is not a choice. As Gaga says, “You were born this way.”
*steps off soapbox* Sorry, I've been carrying that one around for a while.
Eyre: “It isn't barbecued unless you use BBQ sauce and then you'd better make sure it's the right kind of sauce. :)”
Love it, y'all.
Stephani: Hun, I'm the last person to apologise to about soap boxes and ranting… as you may have noticed. And, nope, pretty sure that's not the same book. The 'choice' thing is something I would have picked up. I fucking hate it when authors of m/m use phrases like that and don't even realise they are perpetuating bigotry.
I could quite happily mention something about what authors think we sound like in Scotland, but nivver fash, I'll take the higher ground.
Irish is just the same – read something recently that was all ya's & me – “ya be acting like me mate” ~ cringes.
Good to see you spell Kris correctly, though.
Juni: Och, lassie. I dunnae ken wot ye mean aboot me spellin'.
Other than to say that it, and my grammar, pretty much sucks before I have had at least two cups of coffee and that I can always rely upon my mates to email me to point out how crap it is. 😛
Oh, and that argument about changing words so Americans readers can understand what's going on??
Can I add an e) please? How is one to know that a book is set in another country if you don't include the language of said country? I mean, why bother? Just set everything in the US and be done with it. It's like going on holiday but only going to areas in which the resturants and people are all where you are from so you feel at home. No culture exchange going on!
There was a discussion on GR recently about smelt and smelled…
Isn't smelt what happens when you melt iron ore?
@Kris – I may have some news for you on this front…let me see if I can share it *races off*
Ummm. No. I'm afeared now. LOL The Aussies will jump all over my ass if it ever got accepted.
I've seen some pretty pathetic attempts at rendering various dialects of English, all around. Ones I know fairly well, oddly, because I live in Pennsylvania, are the mid-South to deep South accents. I think more writers are being careful about using African American Vernacular English. I know right away when a word or phrase is wrong in an author's attempt to write that. If it's not done very correctly, it sounds racist.
I can share… I know of a book that will be published later this year…it's set in Australia, written by an Australian and…it uses Australian English 🙂
Orannia: “Can I add an e) please? How is one to know that a book is set in another country if you don't include the language of said country? I mean, why bother?”
Indeed. At least one the stories made no effort what so ever other to talk about crossing a state's border right at the beginning. I couldn't work out what the point was. It could have been a story set anywhere.
“I may have some news for you on this front…let me see if I can share it *races off*”
Tam: Don't be a wuss. You have a pet Aussie who will help you out; ie, Sean.
Emilie: “If it's not done very correctly, it sounds racist.”
I agree. I've seen some attempts which have come across in such a crass way it has made me wonder if that was actually the author's intention in the first place.
Orannia: We must have cross posted! LOL.
“I can share… I know of a book that will be published later this year…it's set in Australia, written by an Australian and…it uses Australian English :)”
Very cool! You'll have to be sure to send me linkity at the time of its release. I can't resist an Aussie book. Well, some Aussie books. 😉
I'll definitely send you linkity!
Blogger's being a bitch today so Richelle emailed what she wanted to say:
I'd much rather have characters speaking as they would normally speak rather than an American version. For the most part, I think I'm smart enough to figure it out. Funny, though, I had the opposite problem recently. The author was British but the story was set in the US and both characters were from the US, but they kept saying “whilst”. It threw me out of the story every time because we don't say that here (at least not where I'm from).
I guess the other problem is authors who try to use the right words but getting them wrong. Stories set in the South drive me crazy because many authors try to use Southern expressions, but end up getting them terribly wrong.
Richelle: I'm not even sure that Brits themselves say 'whilst'. None that I recall anyway and my family is ex-pat so…
I love to use whilst. 🙂
I knew that there would be someone who would.
Thank. You. At least give US readers some credit for not being so thick that we need it spoon fed to us.
I once listened to a Sarah Mayberry audiobook that took place in Melbourne, that was read by someone using an American accent. Drove me batshit.
Renee: What you can't understand an Australian story unless it is spoken with an American accent either?? That's just plain weird arse.
It's a bloody outrage mate, that's what it is.
I think it's the publishers sometimes. I had one change “train carriage” to “train car” for the American readers, but it was a British set story. I argued my point and they changed it back.
I'm sure most American readers have enough intelligence to figure these things out, and if they don't, I'm not sure they're my target market. I probably use too many long words ;P
Josephine: “I think it's the publishers sometimes.”
That's the impression that I get as a reader sometimes. For example, the story which had the 'stick shift' in it?? Well, everything else was pretty much spot on. It was just that one thing which made me think it was probably a publisher change done for US readers. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect for an Aussie reader.
I think it must be intensely frustrating for authors when that happens. I remember emailing Clare at the time 'True Colors' came out and asking her why the hell she let 'colours' be spelt wrong. ;P