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My Foreign Language Experience and My Characters

Welcome. I’m so glad you stopped in. Today at Romance Writer’s Weekly we are talking about speaking foreign languages. The short answer for me is no.

I took French in high school, but because of hearing problems I just never did understand it very well. I managed to pass the class but I wouldn’t say it was successful. However, when I got married I moved to the place my husband grew up which was the northern most town in NH. Pittsburg, NH has a close relationship to the neighbors in the north, not to mention at the time the exchange rate was in our favor and I actually did my grocery shopping at a Costco in Canada.

As I spent time driving and interacting with the citizens of Quebec, Canada’s only French speaking province, I was able to pick some up. If a person speaks very slowly, and I mean VERY slowly, I can get the gist of what they are saying. I can function well enough to read road signs and the like as well, oh and we used to go up there to some clubs, so I was taught the phrases to listen for that would require a slap across the face. Not to mention I could throw out a string of French swears if it was ever called for.

As for my characters, I actually have written two characters that speak a different first language than English.

In Dealing with the Viscount, the only servant to the heroine in her father’s home is French. When Devon finds his heroine he, unbeknownst to her, took in the maid and set her up in a cottage by way of a pension. He then uses her loyalties against the heroine to aid in his cause to win her back. I did not have her speak long lines of French. I used French words splattered in her dialogue to give the effect of a French accent.

In Visions of Pleasure my hero, Bastion Niall Dialais Guaire, 4th Count of Lugar De Sueno is from Spain. He has traveled widely, so I did not use

Spanish very much. I did use it in a few high emotion scenes where he forgets himself and slips into his native language because he is so taken by his heroine. He has a few terms of endearment that I sprinkle in.

When I was thinking about this topic for the blog post, I decided I take a Gomez Adams tact with my characters and their native language. For you youngsters, Gomez Adams would slip into speaking French when the love of his life, Morticia would get frisky with him. As a child I never knew what he was saying, but I did know that Gomez loved Morticia more than anything in the world.

That is how I want you to react to my characters. I want their emotion and love to come out from what they say and how they say it. What better way than to have them speak in the language that is most comfortable and hence most unscripted.

I hope you found my rendition of foreign language use to be interesting. Up next is Brenda Margriet

And, check out Brenda’s new release Crossroads corner now available!

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