Ola! Bonjour! Kon'nichiwa! We’re going international on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop this week! I set this topic:
Do you speak another language? If so, which one? If you don’t, is there a language you’d like to learn? How about your characters - do you write characters that speak different languages, and use that language in your stories?
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome!
I do not speak another language, which is partly why this fascinates me. In Canada, French is a required subject in school, so I have studied it, and at one point could stagger through a few sentences. A couple of years ago, we went to France for a holiday, and I used Duolingo to try and become more fluent. It wasn’t a success – my fault, not the program. I am too self-conscious to try and speak it.
I love to read books where characters speak another language, as long it isn’t used so much I get lost in the plot. A word or short phrase dropped in judiciously, though, can really amp up the flavour of a story.
In NO LIFE BUT THIS, my heroine, Abigail, goes to the Portuguese Islands of the Azores on an adventure holiday, and has an uncharacteristic fling with her tour guide, Santos. One of my favourite scenes is where Abigail meets Santos’ mother:
Santos turned to Abigail. "My mother apologizes that she cannot speak better English."
Abigail shook her head, smiling. "Tell her I'm sorry. I should be able to speak her language."
"Why not tell her yourself? Say this: Minha desculpa. Eu deveria ser capaz de falar a sua lingua."
"I'll make a mess of it."
"Give it a try." He repeated it. "I promise I won't laugh."
She stumbled through the unfamiliar sounds. True to his word, Santos didn't laugh, although the corners of his mouth tucked in. His mother allowed her demeanor to soften further and giggled behind her hand, her eyes dancing.
It’s a quick little scene, but it shows the reader how Santos wants Abigail to fit in with his family, and also how Abigail feels as a visitor to his country. But using another language doesn’t have to be only instructional, like this one. Earlier in the book, Santos has these thoughts after leading a bicycle tour in which Abigail had needed some help getting up a long hill:
He'd managed to convince himself his reaction to Abigail while helping her climb the hill in Sete Cidades had simply been plain old male hormones. He'd realized it had been more than three months since his last relationship. The hiatus explained why the sight of her scrawny little nádegas bouncing up and down in front of him had turned him on.
You don't have to speak the language to know what Santos is talking about, given what was happening in the scene. Of course, you have to be careful doing this, as Google Translate doesn’t always supply the right words. Context matters! I have a friend who is a native Azorean Portuguese speaker and I had him help me to make sure I didn’t mess anything up.
What about you? Do you speak another language? If so, I’m so jealous!
Now hop on over to A. S. Fenichel to see how she used language in her historical romances.
Congratulations to A. S. Fenichel! Today is release day for her newest book in the Everton Domestic Society series!
A Lady’s Past
The greatest risk—for the sweetest reward…
His fiancée’s betrayal nearly cost Jacques Laurent everything. Despite his resolve not to trust anyone again, he can’t abandon the young woman he finds alone on the road to London. In the brief hours they spend together, the enigmatic Diana touches his heart in a way he can’t explain. Even after bringing her to the Everton Domestic Society for safe-keeping, he can’t get her out of his thoughts. And when he next encounters her, working as assistant to a renowned scientist, he becomes even more intrigued…
* * * *
The Society’s kindness is especially welcome after everything Diana endured in a French prison, but she fears for the safety of those who get close to her. French spies are on her trail, convinced that her scientific knowledge can help them win the war. As peril draws them irrevocably together, Diana and Jacques succumb to mutual desire. But love may be the most dangerous pursuit of all, when a lady guards her heart even more carefully than she guards her life . . .
Google Plus https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_S_Fenichel_A_Lady_s_Past?id=_n6WDwAAQBAJ
And don't forget -