90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, November 5, 2012

Steve Almond On Writing In Dialects: ‘Sometimes Ye Jist Dae It’

Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle in the 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting. (Miramax)

In reviewing Irvin Welsh’s “Skagboys” for The New York Times Book Review, our literary critic Steve Almond started thinking about the use of dialects in fiction.

“Skagboys,” the prequel to Welsh’s 1993 novel “Trainspotting,” is set among young drug users in Edinburgh, Scotland and is written in their language without a glossary.

Here & Now literary critic Steve Almond. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

As Almond tells Here & Now’s Robin Young, he found the effect absolutely maddening at first, but he found the effort to understand the dialect ultimately rewarding.

“I think Welsh is very effectively able to mine the poetry of the way that these guys speak. And it’s quite beautiful. And it’s more authentic ’cause this is the way that the youths of Edinburgh speak,” Almond said.

Almond takes a look at how dialects and accents are used in such works as Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Henry Roth’s “Call it Sleep,” Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” and Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

Guest:

  • Steve Almond, literary critic and an author of short stories, books and essays.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

March 2 13 Comments

The Beanie Baby Boom And Bust – What Happened?

Zac Bissonnette drew on hundreds of interviews to write a book about "mass delusion and the dark side of cute."

March 2 5 Comments

Russian Opposition MP Reacts To Nemtsov Killing

The sole member of the Russian parliament to vote against the annexation of Crimea discusses the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

February 27 5 Comments

After Red Carpet Controversy, A Look At The History Of Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks go back "thousands and thousands of years," according to professor Bert Ashe, who also shares his own dreadlocks stories.

February 27 12 Comments

More Parents Say No To Standardized Testing

A growing number of parents and students are deciding to "opt out" of assessment tests.