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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A New Kink for Better, More Natural Dialogue


The LA Times reports that researchers have found that when we say “Huh?” we do just what people in every language in the world do. Their “huh?” may not sound exactly like our odd little grunt, but similar. They're all  single syllables with a vowel sound and they often have a glottal stop. They call such utterances the “glue that holds a broken conversation together.” I thought you should know about it, because it is so pervasive, yet we rarely see it in dialogue.
Wouldn’t using it here and there make dialogue seem more natural—or at least serve a useful (and natural) purpose when a character doesn’t get it?
And wouldn't using it judiciously in our dialogue help our writing be more universally appreciated or understood. There are lots of English and Second Language readers out there.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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