Originally Posted by Synamon
I'm slogging through this and have to admit that the odd dialects are jarring. Part of this is my own bias, since most Victorian books/movies I've been exposed are exclusively upper crust. It does come into play in the story with one of the characters and his ability to fit into the society that the Buddenbrooks inhabit, so I can see the necessity.
Are you talking about Johann Buddenbrooks, the head of the family? I have just started the book and until now only found one usage of dialects but this had nothing to do with "fit into the society" or some social classes. What Johann is speaking is "plattdeutsch", a dialect typical for northern Germany. It is "very" dialect - there are many words in plattdeutsch that have only a small resemblence to their German counterparts (maybe deserblues understands it quite well). I guess it should demonstrate how "local" he is whereas his usage of French should demonstrate how "worldly" he is at the same time.