Friday, September 14, 2012

More on Writing a Welsh Accent

The National Flag of Wales. Love it!
I posted several months ago that I was having to learn to write a Welsh character's dialogue for my novel in progress (I do keep choosing characters who don't speak like I do... unless of course they choose me, then it's totally not my fault). Since that post has stayed near the head of the Popular Posts list over in the sidebar ever since (seems a lot of other people are writing Welsh characters too, and are out googling how to do so; go Team Welsh Characters!), I thought I'd revisit the subject briefly.

In the months since that original post (How To Do A Welsh Accent), I've read books with Welsh characters, some by Welsh writers, others not. Here's a short list I think would help you in your efforts, if you happen to be on this Team:

one of my favorites!
Any of the twenty Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters, particularly the audio versions read by Patrick Tull, if you can get them. He does a great Welsh accent, as far as I can tell. This series includes (and in no particular chronological order) but isn't limited to:  
The Rose Rent
The Hermit of Eyton Forest
The Summer of the Danes
An Excellent Mystery
Dead Man's Ransom
The Virgin in the Ice
The Raven in the Foregate
Brother Cadfael's Penance.

A Faded Coat of Blue, by Owen Parry

A recent immigrant to this land -- where American has taken up arms against American -- Abel Jones finds himself mysteriously chosen as confidential agent to General George McClellan, the "savior of the Union."No stranger to the cruel paradoxes of war, Jones is asked to investigate the death of Anthony Fowler, a young volunteer captain shot through the heart outside an encampment of raw recruits. Fowler was one of the North's "golden youth," envied and idolized, an impassioned abolitionist and sole son of a powerful merchant dynasty. Instantly, his murder is blamed on the Confederates -- but whispers haunt the death of this fallen martyr, leading Abel Jones from the blood of the battlefield through the intrigues of Washington, D.C., and into a web of secrets and sinister relationships where evil and good intertwine...and where heroes fall prey to those who cherished them the most.


How Green Was My Valley, by Richard Llewellyn. 

How Green Was My Valley is Richard Llewellyn's bestselling -- and timeless -- classic and the basis of a beloved film. As Huw Morgan is about to leave home forever, he reminisces about the golden days of his youth when South Wales still prospered, when coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Drawn simply and lovingly, with a crisp Welsh humor, Llewellyn's characters fight, love, laugh and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people.

I'm several chapters into this book, so cannot yet speak to whether it will turn out to be a good story (though it is a classic and well loved, from what I've read about it so I have high hopes in that regard). The characters are engaging, but most of all the rhythm of the prose and especially the dialogue is what I was hoping to find to help tune my ear to the sound of a Welsh accent.

And if watching movies is something that helps you with this aspect of writing, I recommend a film it seems most people I mention it to have never even heard of, The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain. It's set in Wales during the early 1900s, and stars Hugh Grant and Colm Meaney. It's funny and touching, and loaded with lovely Welsh speech.


Okay Team, write that accent! Make it authentic! Avoid creative phonetic spellings whenever you can!!! Has anyone seen my pom-poms?!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! This was exactly what I needed. I've been attempting to write a Welsh character and it's been very difficult. I'm starting from scratch with only a basic knowledge of the country. Do you have any other great tips? How did you end up accomplishing this?

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