Missing words, is it an accent?

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
User avatar
Amanda Deck
Posts: 112
Joined: 02 Jun 2018, 21:00
Currently Reading: Nobody's Safe
Bookshelf Size: 26
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amanda-deck.html
Latest Review: Kennedy's Revenge by Stephen L Rodenbeck

Re: Missing words, is it an accent?

Post by Amanda Deck » 25 Aug 2018, 12:06

I disagree, black southerners DO speak that way, though the poster who suggested it would have been "dis" instead of "this" has a valid point. I'd also expect to see "yo' pay grade" instead of "your" in that situation.

User avatar
Nditah
Posts: 46
Joined: 04 Jul 2018, 12:09
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 2
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 2
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nditah.html
Latest Review: Pastoring is not what you think by Elijah Oladimeji

Post by Nditah » 28 Aug 2018, 10:54

Helen_Combe wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 11:31
Hi, I’m reading a book by an American author. It’s written in the first person and there are words regularly missing like

Saturday morning, I sat my front steps to wait for Mr. Crumley.

This way above your pay grade.

Am I looking at mistakes or is it a regional accent?

Thanks
When a mistake is repeated always, can it be attributed to an accent?

User avatar
Amanda Deck
Posts: 112
Joined: 02 Jun 2018, 21:00
Currently Reading: Nobody's Safe
Bookshelf Size: 26
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amanda-deck.html
Latest Review: Kennedy's Revenge by Stephen L Rodenbeck

Post by Amanda Deck » 30 Aug 2018, 20:15

Nditah, that's what I would think. I was just wondering earlier how that would work. It seems difficult to "write with an accent" all the way through a book, especially if it's a main character! But only doing so occasionally looks like a mistake.

User avatar
DATo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3913
Joined: 31 Dec 2011, 07:54
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by DATo » 31 Aug 2018, 05:54

Nditah wrote:
28 Aug 2018, 10:54

When a mistake is repeated always, can it be attributed to an accent?
I think if the author was intentionally trying to insinuate an accent he would do it frequently to the extent that the reader would understand that this was his intent.

One of my favorite books is A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. In this book the author uses many accents when writing his character's dialogue. In each instance he pulls this off well by remaining consistent with the specific character's delivery of their lines. There is a real art to doing this well and Toole, in my opinion, is a hands-down master of this art.

On the other hand, if the assumed accent is NOT consistent in the character's dialogue, or is limited to only one or two instances in the entire text, I think one may be sure that these are typos and not intentional on the author's part.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

sanykip
Posts: 71
Joined: 25 Aug 2018, 13:56
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 26
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sanykip.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 2 by H.M. Irwing

Post by sanykip » 31 Aug 2018, 09:06

It is an accent unless the mistake is repeated over and over it doesn't qualify

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7718
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 321
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Dating Policy by Suzanne Eglington

Post by bookowlie » 31 Aug 2018, 12:20

Helen_Combe wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 11:31
Hi, I’m reading a book by an American author. It’s written in the first person and there are words regularly missing like

Saturday morning, I sat my front steps to wait for Mr. Crumley.

This way above your pay grade.

Am I looking at mistakes or is it a regional accent?

Thanks
I believe these sentences each contain a missing word which is an error.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
Tiny_Turtle
Posts: 356
Joined: 05 Apr 2018, 11:29
2018 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 91
Favorite Book: Scattered Leaves
Currently Reading: Stranded In The Wild
Bookshelf Size: 210
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tiny-turtle.html
Latest Review: Isabella's Painting by Ellen Butler
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by Tiny_Turtle » 02 Sep 2018, 15:14

CatInTheHat wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 15:07
Helen_Combe wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 12:58
Saturday morning, I sat my front steps to wait for Mr. Crumley.

This way above your pay grade.
It should say, "On Saturday morning..." and "This is way..." Not regional in the written word, and very slangish in the oral word.
The first sentence should also have on after sat, "...I sat on my front steps..."

User avatar
FictionLover
Posts: 510
Joined: 16 May 2018, 20:50
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 86
Favorite Book: If life stinks get your head outta your buts
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 152
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-fictionlover.html
Latest Review: Tante Minnie by Marilyn Parker
Reading Device: B00HCNHDN0

Post by FictionLover » 05 Sep 2018, 05:57

I have to respectfully disagree with the panel, especially if the character is African American.

When I was in college, I studied linguistics, and this looks like an example of what is called African American English (I learned it as 'Black Vernacular English').

One of the traits of BVE is to change the tense of, or completely delete the verb 'to be'. I don't remember what it used to be called, but now it is referred to as 'copula deletion'.

From the Portland State University website:

https://www.pdx.edu/multicultural-topic ... glish-aave

Copula Deletion

Many speakers of AAVE will sometimes delete certain forms of the copula "to be" (e.g., an AAVE speaker might say "they angry" instead of "they are angry," or "I don't know what he talking about" instead of "I don't know what he's talking about").
"I love reading another reader’s list of favorites. Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict. It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful." T.S. Eliot

Post Reply

Return to “International Grammar”