Made rebloggable per request from writeworld.
Anonymous asked: How would someone role play British? Like the way they speak and act or such.
First of all, you might want to be aware of the fact that certain expressions and words are different in British and American English, and that certain words hold different meanings in the two. You can find lists of such words here and here, for instance.
When I write British characters, I also often switch (both in dialogue and in running text) to British spelling. Here are some examples, American spelling first, and then British:
- harbor → harbour
- color → colour
- neighbor → neighbour
- center → centre
- theater → theatre
- realize → realise
- characterize → characterise
When it comes to behavior and speech, it kind of also depends on what “type” of British person your character is; how old they are, how much money they have, what their social status/background is, and where they’re from. Customs and speech kind of vary throughout the islands, and between various regions and cities. Here’s a useful link about British culture, traditions, and customs; so you could just give it a look and see if you manage to pick something up.
One of my favorite things about the British, though, is their use of slang, and some of their curse words. My friend, who is originally from Northumberland near Scotland, taught me a bunch of fun expressions when I visited her in London last year. My favorite was probably ‘tosspot’, haha. In any case, the slang also varies in various parts of Britain, but here are some links you might find useful:
- The Best of British – British Slang
- Dictionary of English Slang and Colloquialisms of the UK
- Top 100 Most Beautiful British Slang Words and Phrases
So, basically, my best piece of advice is to do your research. Consider your character’s background in terms of age, socioeconomic background, and which part of Britain they’re from, and base your portrayal on that. Watching British television might also be a good way to pick some ticks and tricks up. Best of luck!
This article is full of win.