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.

April 23 10 Comments

Iconic Images From Rock And Roll Photographer Henry Diltz

Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Doors, the Eagles, all became his friends and subjects.

April 23 22 Comments

Police Shooting Of Tamir Rice Still An Open Wound In Cleveland

Five months after the 12-year-old was shot, Peter O'Dowd visits the neighborhood and speaks with Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice.

April 22 6 Comments

Saving Food Scraps From The Trash To Make Better Meals

Are you throwing away your broccoli stems and peach pits? Food writer and cookbook author Eugenia Bone says don't.

April 21 Comment

Photographing Armenian Lives Around the World

Photojournalist Scout Tufankjian started the Armenian Diaspora Project to explore what it means to be Armenian.