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What are the various Midkemian accents like?

From: Raymond E. Feist
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 1998

OK, here's a general guideline I use to write dialogue. It's so I have "accents in my ear" when I write, so that characters "sound" different. The King's Tongue is English (obviously), so I play that as the dominant set of accents. In the East, it's English English, as spoken in Knightsbridge or Mayfair. What you'd hear from the wait staff at the Ritz. The father west you go, the more it changes. By the time you reach Krondor, they sound American and by the time you reach the Far Coast, Australian. Then there's classes. People in the working class in each region sound very much like working class people in the respective areas, so while you'll never hear "Oy!" from the Duke or Duchess of whatever, you will hear it in the west from dock workers. And then there's the indigenous nations. Bas-Tyra is French, Rodez is Spanish, so when speaking the King's Tongue, that's sort of what they speak like. The Hadati are a mix of highlanders and mountain Apache, so they probably don't have a Norwegeian accent. I'm saving most of the other European accents for the Eastern Kingdoms. Roldem, for example, is pretty clearly Polish to me, and their court is about as formal as the Polish Kingdom at its height. For another court which I think is clearly influenced by that nation/era, check out Joe Straczinsky's Centauri homeworld on Babalon 5. The Poles were among Europe's most interesting people in the last five hundred years. But I digress. . . Novindus is like India, with a thousand regional tongues and one major trading language, which again is based on Yabonese, as the original founders of the area were people who fled from Yabon during the last great Religious war. I'm pretty sure that Rich Spahl's Wynetians are all speaking some sort of Greek, as I remember his characters usually had amazing names that few of us could ever pronounce. Queq is obviously a blend of Roman/Italian. Natal is kind of a blend of Boer, Dutch, or "generic" lowcounty-ish. One of the things happening in Rage/Shards is the development of The Common Tongue, which is a pastiche of Keshian, the version spoken by those newly come from Novindus, which is an ancient version of the Yabaonese/Keshian dialect, and the King's Tongue. It's a "linqua franca" and will get you by in most areas of Triagia. Anyway, these are guidlines, not hard and fast rules, and the cultures are not one for one correspondences Rather these are ways for me to keep speech and a few cultural landmarks clearly in sight when I write a character like John Vinci or Lord Vasarius, or Baru or someone else who is not "Kingdom mainstream."


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