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I stuck my hand in a wasp's nest and it stang rather badly!

Would you object if you read 'stang' in a story?

  • Sounds fine to me!

    Votes: 3 60.0%
  • I'd assume the writer hadn't edited the book but still read it

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It's just wrong!

    Votes: 2 40.0%

  • Total voters
    5

Ned Marcus

Inkling
I really want to write the word 'stang' as the past for sting in one of my stories.

I know it's obsolete or archaic, but it feels right. I've met a few people who use the word. I think it is or was more of a northern English or perhaps Scottish word. But I know someone from the Midlands who told me he uses it.

I also write 'span' as the past of spun, but at least that word is still used in parts of Britain, if not everywhere.

Would you object if you read it in story?
 

Queshire

Auror
Hm, that depends on the story. If it's in first person or someone actually saying it then a sprinkling of stuff like that can help communicate personality. Too much can be annoying to read though. I don't recommend trying to copy an accent for the entirety of a character's dialogue for example. If it's in third person and you don't have the narrator as basically a character in their own right then I would recommend looking for an alternative though.
 

pmmg

Vala
Sounds like dialect to me. I could see people using it even it if was not in the dictionary.

Not much different form learned and learnt.
 

Ned Marcus

Inkling
Sounds like dialect to me. I could see people using it even it if was not in the dictionary.

Not much different form learned and learnt.
A little different because learnt is very common in British English. Stang is only used by a few people. Perhaps very few.
 

pmmg

Vala
All those people using learnt should have learned it differently. The stang of typing it still makes my fingers hurt.
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
IMHO, it kind of doesn't matter what I think, because I don't know your story. I don't know your reasoning, so my opinion on it will be base on a extremely shallow assessment. It's about if you can justify its use in the story. Everything in a story needs a reason to be there, word choice included. Are you putting it in there just to show your writerly chops and show off how many obscure words you know, OR is there some other reason? Does that word choice have a purpose in your estimation?

Because if it doesn't, chances are it can end up being a detraction that takes away from the story and may even act as barrier to the reader engaging with said story. Now, if there's a clear purpose for it, it may have the opposite effect in helping to draw the reader in.

So, I might object. I might not. It all depends on the context of its usage.
 

buyjupiter

Maester
I've read a ton of stories that do dialect. Some handle it well, like Mark Twain; some not so well. I think what makes the difference between dialect writing in literary fiction and that of fantasy or sci-fi (& even horror, to some extent) is that in fantastic fiction there's the additional hurdle of in-world words that need additional explaining or context. (Two examples that spring to mind are Stand on Zanzibar & Brave New World, while both being SF are great examples of world building that needs a lot of explanation re terminology. But even in The Wheel of Time series for example, there's a lot of terminology that needs explaining so you understand the world.)

All of that said, in your particular case with this example, it would take me a good solid minute to figure out that "stang" is a dialectic past participle of "sting" and would annoy me that it wasn't "stung".
 

S J Lee

Inkling
If it was DIALOGUE in " " marks I would have no problem with it. Otherwise ... if I got the vibe the writing was good and the writer had DELIBERATELY chosen to stick to it cos he liked it, no worries - if I got the vibe he was an ignorant noob without an editor, not so good...

He should of done it.
He snuck.
Imma do it.
I'm not feeling the love.
Man down!
I've not gotten any money today.
You got to the count of five!

A language that never changes is a dead language. Who wants to write in a dead language?

 
I think it doesn't matter enough to worry about it too much. There are 100.000 words in a novel, give or take a few thousand. If one or two of those are some archaic version of a word few people will notice or care. As long as the context of where the word is used is clear then people will simply read over it and continue.

Of course, once it becomes part of a pattern, then it changes. If each paragraph contains archaic words or conjugations, then people will start noticing and caring.
 
I think it doesn't matter enough to worry about it too much. There are 100.000 words in a novel, give or take a few thousand. If one or two of those are some archaic version of a word few people will notice or care. As long as the context of where the word is used is clear then people will simply read over it and continue.

Of course, once it becomes part of a pattern, then it changes. If each paragraph contains archaic words or conjugations, then people will start noticing and caring.
But if consistent and it's part of the narrative voice to be archaic, it becomes normalized to me. Archaisms that come off as random are ones that stick out to me, but even then, I'm not particularly fussy about them.
 

Ned Marcus

Inkling
I've had some trouble using 'span' as the past of spin. One reader kindly listed all the 'misuses' in my first novel and sent them to me with page numbers. I was touched by his care (I think he was really trying to help me) but I told him that it's still used in parts of the UK even though not by most people.
 
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