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Accents

It's probably been said before.. and it's not an issue unique to this game..

Dropping letters out randomly doesn't constitute an accent!

A positive example is people doing scottish, irish, jamaican, and european accents (to name a few i've seen in Sindome) - that is what roleplaying an accent looks like.

It drives me insane - you could always just use the voice thing to signify them having a rough mixer accent and stick to using things like wot instead of what, or drop off the end of words like fuckin' - or even better - fucken - to create that feel of an accent.

Been roleplaying across a number of games for about 20 years and its one of those things I wish we as a community would squash (no doubt we're playing most of the same games!)

Something (sort of) under that umbrella that tends to annoy me too is russian characters acting like "nyet" is just a general replacement for the letters "n" and "o" next to eachother, like saying "nyething" instead of "nothing".
You state that dropping letters is not an accent, but then give an example of dropping letters to signify an accent. Can you clarify what you feel is not a good portrayal of an accent?
I don't know a lot about russian language but its a valid point.

I will say that when I see people doing slavic accents at least its recogniseable what they're aiming for but toss it on the pile!

I think they mean not "leaning into" the accent other than dropping letters.

Honestly, I'd rather have bad accents than none at all. Let people build their RP. Not everyone can intuit accents as easily as others.

"You state that dropping letters is not an accent, but then give an example of dropping letters to signify an accent. Can you clarify what you feel is not a good portrayal of an accent?"

One is a recogniseable and well known shortening that when put in the right combination with other phrases or shortenings can sound like real world accents. The other is dropping letters randomly. I did say 'fucken' is an even better way of doing it as it shows there is an attempt to shape the way the word is pronounced.

I think the choice to use accents that make it difficult for people to understand or otherwise find frustrating is on the speaker. Don't understand someone? RP it. There are IC pro's and cons here for sure but you don't get to dictate people's RP.
I guess can you give an example of dropping letters randomly? I'm mostly concerned it's me, but I personally say/think what I want to say in the accent before typing it out with dropped letters, phonetic spellings and contracted words so I hope I do an OK job.
Meh. They ain't hurtin noth'n mate.
It's better for everyone if we encourage people to learn how to imitate accents or create new ones if they're being fancy.

Being defensive about protecting people's rights doesn't really help anything, or improve what is an ongoing trend over the years, and it certainly isn't dictating or making personal attacks to point it out -- but I'm not on a crusade so I leave it for people to discuss and if there are people who don't agree, that's fine.

There are people who put a lot of care into trying to recreate national and regional accents by using phrases, shaping the way words sound, even adding culture or body language.. I think we should be encouraging people to do more of that - it simply isn't interesting when people just drop letters - what is that accent? If it can be explained by missing teeth, a cleft palette, a lisp (arguably terry pratchett's Igor's mastered that one), or something else GREAT! At least it brings the creativity that is missing from thinking dropping letters is enough.

I just had to say it here rather than let it affect my rp because it ISN'T my character's view, its MINE, and driving that through RP is bad RP. My character could care less and the less of ME in my character, the better my roleplay is. Anyway, that's my view on the matter.

In my opinion accents are (re)created to give some flavor and some idiosyncrasies, ways for the player to make a character unique and at the same time eventually showing how past environment shaped their talk. Create some style. You're also free to choose not to do it.

But let people have fun, use their imagination as they want. It's not a rule to speak perfect standard English or perfectly imitate an accent, otherwise let's forget about slang as well while we're at it. Moreover everybody twists the language in their peculiar ways in everyday language too. To me, there's no point in discussing the validity of some character's accent, too subjective. You don't like it, then that's you're right but respect others right to create the style they want.

Here's my argument against the way people do accents currently.

Accessibility.

ASCII art is prohibited because of the trouble screen readers have with it...how well do you think that screen reader is going to do with the letter dropping accents people adopt? If you speak with an accent, it should be in your 'voice', but for the sake of accessibility, leave it out of what you actually say.

I have done my fair share of finger wagging but I think Grizzly's right. However the screen reader thing is a good point and I think it's something we should all be conscious of.
Yep, I think RedSteelButterfly makes the most important point there. Interacting with a screen-reader user was the only time I have personally semi-dropped an accent for in the past.

If me having a fun (for me) accent (that, yes does probably annoy some of you) is ruining someone's ability to actually interact with the game, then yes, I'll happily tone it down as far as it takes to allow that.

If it just irritates you, well you know where to post a bounty, don't yah, baka? ;)

If it is such an issue then treat them the same way you would treat anyone else you can't understand.

I know people and have people in my family that speak English and for the life of me I can't understand what they say due to their accent or even a disability.

"Gobble gobble goo goo"

Sorry chum, don't know what the fuck you're saying.

Chances are if you aren't from somewhere, or haven't spend a considerable amount of time around people from somewhere, you are going to sound ridiculous to someone familiar with one of these accents. Particularly if you just google three words and overuse them as part of your accent.

But it is all part of the RP and as Chrome said up there somewhere, this is much better than having none. It's a useful way to add some dimension to your character and stand out a bit.

The screen reader criticism seems really valid, the rest of this is a little bit nitpicky. I'm not sure how it can really be all that annoying.. And if it is, you can call that person out IC.

I tend to look at the unique accents that players create as a myriad of pidgin languages. Everyone is looking to make a mark, and their accent is as much a statement as anything else. With dozens of languages, dialects, and accents smashed together like some kind of lingual smorgasbord it's no wonder the masses speak a hodgepodge of their native tongues (generally "x" language + english).

I tend to conjure up in game reason why a player might have x y z accent the way they do.

Over-using words. Someone wants to be known as a certain nationality. Overusing a word becomes a matter of national pride perhaps. It's hard to use your native language when no one knows what you're saying. Sticking to a few words let's your usual contacts learn them without forcing them to learn an entire language for you, and still get to cling to your roots.

Dropping letters. Someone wants to be seen as a stereotypical this or that. Or they want to be harder to understand. Or maybe it's just a side effect of picking up the accent of the street.

And sometimes it makes for good RP all by itself.

I don't know how people rp accents. Seems impossible! I do a little bit of wonkiness... barely, but overall the 'accent', if any at all, isn't much. I actually have an accent in my head for my character, but I don't know how to type it :P

I like the accents I see! Some of them are so hideously horrible to try to sound out and those are usually the ones that make me smile. Lol u wot m8?

I'd like to suggest two things.

First, echoing Grizzly. If your character can't understand what another character is saying (either when reading it or having a screen reader read it to you), deal with it ICly. Tell them you don't understand. Nod and smile. Any one of the many things people do IRL when they can't understand someone they are speaking with. It's good RP.

Second, instead of listing how YOU feel people are doing accents wrong, list ideas on how you think it could be cool to do an XXXX accent. Like:

Uneducated Street:

Mix and match some of the following elements.

Use 'got' as often as you can instead of 'have': I got ten bucks to my name!

Combine to and leading words: 'bunch of' becomes 'buncha'. 'Lots of' becomes 'lotta'. 'Got to' becomes 'gotta'.

Use the wrong verb tense: 'He were there' instead of 'He was there'

Drip the trailing G in most cases (sometimes adding an '): I was lookin' for you.

Replace long 'oo' (like 'to') with 'uh' or 'a': I want tuh see yuh later.

Replace 'er' sounds with 'a' or 'uh': Let's do it togetha.

Always choose the simple word: "You're pronouncing that wrong!" becomes "You aren't sayin' that right!"

Use 'ain't' often: I ain't know. You ain't where you're supposed to be.

Use all the contractions: 'He is quick.' sounds smarter than 'He's quick.'

The fact is that there is no right or wrong way to do any particular accent. But throwing out suggestions on how you think a particular accent could be done might help others and is far more constructive that asking people to stop doing things you don't like.

Obligatory reminder: the topic of this post could be improve and it could include a subtitle to better inform the reader specifically what about accents may need discussion. Please see the BGBB Etiquette post for more information on writing good topics. (I will be looking to enforce some of these standards via code but until then, good to keep in mind.)
Usually this is how I think when I try to justify why I or someone else is throwing in random foreign words into their speech: some people who don't speak English natively, accidentally throw in their own native words mid-English. It's not always on purpose. Even though I speak English with people all day, it happens to me, too, sometimes. Especially when I try to explain a particular Swedish word, I throw in the awkward Swedish word here and there and just mix up the languages completely, and that is not on purpose.

Besides, there's already characters that don't speak English fully, in the game, you don't understand what they say? Deal with it IC. There are some things that really bug me with some characters' accents, especially if I've done some research on the language they're trying to copy and some things seem illogical to me, but I honestly prefer accents over none. They make roleplay far more interesting. I used to advocate for just letting 'voice' explain it all, but honestly it just wouldn't be as cyberpunk if you didn't hear thick accents and weirdass dialects here and there. In my opinion.

Try to keep in mind that just because you did some research on something doesn't mean you will fully understand it and the nuances of language enough to discredit someone else. I can only imagine someone who doesn't speak English natively, start trying to accuse someone of being a fraud, caricature, BSer, etc because they use popular "southern phrases", or pronounce things with a northern accent, or use slang, etc.
I personally think one thing to remember is we're all roleplaying these characters. If anyone thinks they are the perfect roleplayer, then well done to you, but for the rest of us, we're going to rely a bit on stereotypes and cliches to create someone that isn't just... well ourselves.

Whether that's doing an accent that you don't feel quite nails it, or overusing a couple of non-English words, people are just trying to have fun, don't make them feel like crap for trying...

That said, accents are a big part of the game and I think they're great when done really well, you can even vote for your favourite accent when the January Town Hall comes around, so giving people tips on how to make their accent the best it can be is a great idea (No fun winning an award if you didn't have to crush some other baka's dreams to win it)!

My biggest personal tip to anyone wanting to add a heavy accent to their character is: TRY AND BE CONSISTENT, not just within words, but between words.

"Yah ain't goin' -to- tha shop, yah is goin' -tah- tha shop, chummer."

If that makes sense?

... wonder if Slither might do one of his awsome videos on the subject?

There’s a lot of great points here. One thing I just want to bring up is there is a extraordinary amount of trial and error with accents and slang.

Few people bursts out of omega gate speaking perfect nadsat or knowing infinite cyberpunk slang. There’s also many who continually throw out new terms and accent flows trying to see what works. You hear words like baka and mona as staples of our world but there were times when these weren’t used at all. Players initiated this.

Try new things, mix it up, and see what sticks. Provide constructive feedback to others and don’t be afraid to steal people’s phrases that you enjoy.

Also, don’t be afraid to be misunderstood and let people flounder in there own ignorance about your character. Use it to your advantage. I had a PC a while back who was ESL and spoke with a terrible accent using an inordinate amount of slang. His Chinese accent was frequently misunderstood to be that of a toddlers because I swapped typical R’s with W’s to not copy a certain NPC’s accent.

“Always play with their minds.”

@Grizzly666 Of course, there's loads of different nuances to languages, I don't claim to be an expert in even my own native language, but even when some stuff might bug you about how someone speaks or roleplays an accent, it is better it's there than not. It was more to explain to the post-maker that accents just make the world more interesting.
@Evie I get your point and appreciate what you are saying. What I have seen in my own experience here is that someone will constitute research as googling the term you used and then spend the next month claiming the grid gave them a dictionary definition so you must be a fraud because you are using it differently. While people are free to do that, it's just irritating and borders on the line of OOC because it feels like that you the player know that this person is not Hispanic, middle eastern, Asian, Russian, etc and you're just trying to ride their ass for it.
Google's 85 years out of date.

If someone's throwing modern dictionary definitions at you to tell you you don't know your own slang, well, call them out right back for how little they know about life on the streets of Hong Kong, or wherever you're from ;)

I understand that, I have to admit I haven't seen it that much, but I have seen some people argue a bit too much related to certain characters' accents, though that might be for IC motives. That is annoying, there is no one who can roleplay perfectly. It is sometimes very troublesome to roleplay something like a doctor, but you're not a doctor IRL, though maybe you have a colleague IC that actually knows a lot of medical terms. You just feel inadequate. It's roleplay, so no one's gonna be 100% real.
It's possible Google never became the popular search module that it did, the game was made in the 90's after all. :)
@Uchu

Oh, trust me, when it happens to me, I summon the shit winds.

Also Google is what they do OOC, Then IC they say "I grid searched it".

Seems there was confusion.

Hah, true Evie ;)

And I hope I get to see the vengeful shit-winds of accent-rage in action one day Grizzly >:)

I want to acknowledge the challenge of ESL players and people with visual impairment when it comes to this topic. Sadly, I don't think that anything but queen's English is going to be helpful, and that you're going to have to take it in stride, since as it's been mentioned above, cyberpunk is a very slang-heavy setting.

That said, accents are amazing ways to RP and build your character. I fully support players who stick to their accents even in harrowing times. If you can't understand someone, then handle it ICly. Maybe you ask them to clarify five times and they get frustrated with you and stomp off. Maybe you get angry and break their face. Sooner or later you'll find yourself picking it up and understanding it just through contact and osmosis. That moment when you become the translator for the 'unintelligible' character because you understand everything they are saying after having been there yourself is a good one, and should not be deprived.

Finally, as to busting people's chops for accents and such on SIC, can we just not? Ribbing and such is to be expected, but trying to break out the SIC rules of engagement as to what constitutes good or bad RP on SIC is time better spent elsewhere, I think. Let people have their fun and RP, and if you really hate it, hire your fellow players to get ultraviolent with them.

Screen readers can not speak words, they speak phonic sounds, so a good bit of last letter droppin' should sound fine through them since so many of those are silent to begin with.
Ah, nice to know, thanks for that Johnny. Explains how people using them mostly seem to cope well enough.

I have to disagree with your last point TalonCzar. If people are complaining that an apostrophe is in the wrong place or something, then yeah, they should probably drop it, but straight insults about accents? Let them roll in.

I can think of one particular example of someone being pretty fucking horrible to my character about their accent IC, but in no way was it meant as a negative comment from the player about my RP. At a later date they actually dropped me a quick OOC compliment about it, which just made me as a player appreciate the insulting outburst even more in hindsight :)

Just trust people to RP their character, same as you're asking them to trust you to RP yours, and if you really think they're just trying to be a dick on an OOC level, xhelp it.

I'll drop in my two bits here on this one.

Character accents are probably one of my favorite things about Sindome, and this goes beyond just how words are pronounced. I've noticed certain character have specific vernacular, whether that is the use of a lot of cyberpunk slang or "native" phrases they use.

Any issues with character accents should be handled ICly, in my opinion. If I'm dealing with a character with an accent I can't understand, you bet my character is telling them they can't understand a word they're saying and will avoid them. If another character is using vernacular that my character doesn't? They will be saying, "Huh? What did you just say?" I think this really encourages a lot of subtle RP and gives characters so much flavor.

As for consistency, I agree with this to a point. For example, if a character comes through the gate, they're going to have a certain way of speaking. Over time, I think it's absolutely natural that they'll lose some of their own vernacular and accent and obtain a new one. Maybe their input/output has a super thick accent. Maybe they were once a mixer and are now a corpie, whose colleagues won't stand for that shit. Accents should change and I really think it's up to the player how and when to switch this; in real life, I absorb accents. If I spend three days down in in the southern US, I've got a southern accent. When I've gone overseas, I've picked up the regional accent in just a few minutes. So in turn, as characters grow, their way of speaking certainly should.

Keep up the accents! I like my spicy RP and accents absolutely give me the seasoning I'm looking for.

Sorry if I wasn't clear before. When I talked about consistency, I meant within a sentence or conversation, not over the lifetime of your character, of course that can change :)

The main thing that lets down accents a lot of the time in my opinion is inconsistency between similar sounding words. If you say 'you' like a badass mixer (yu, yah, ya, etc/whatever), but then in the same sentence say 'to' like a well-schooled corpie, it just feels a little bit jarring.

Not something I think people should worry about *too* much, but it's an easy thing to fix if you pay attention to yourself (and you think it needs fixing of course), and it'll come naturally quick enough.

That internal consistency is what I meant though... I can't tell you how to develop/not develop your character :D

I get the angst for accents. I've played with folks that English is a second (or third) language. And one that was a blind fellow from Bombay. Can't imagine the struggle there when hit by someone's version of a thick brogue.

That said, accents are a natural thing. Few speak perfect English. I'm fairly educated and, as a Southerner, routinely drop my 'g's and use words like 'buncha' or 'lotta'. And as someone mentioned above cyberpunk has it's own jargon and vernacular.

I also agree with the folks above who say 'handle confusion IC'. Don't understand someone, do what folks do IRL, tell them you didn't understand. "Gangsta say what?"

(Maybe when I get to Gold level I can afford to buy few of those 'g's I keep skimpin' on?)