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Old 08-23-2010, 05:40 AM   #31
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I'm going to guess you have not read a lot of AMericanLiterature from the Civil War until ohhhh about 1960
Mark Twain was the first American author to make any real attempt to reproduce American dialects in fiction. It really hadn't been done prior to that.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:48 AM   #32
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I only use contractions in a "conversational" post. When i want my meaning really clear, I will use the full words.

Plus, we don't (except for that one, I hardly ever use "not") have that many contractions in Dutch and I find it ugly, usually.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:41 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by kindlekitten View Post
I'm going to guess you have not read a lot of AMericanLiterature from the Civil War until ohhhh about 1960
Other than Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Saul Bellow, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, Pearl S. Buck, Willa Cather, John Dos Passos and the like, that would be a good guess. But in my limited sample I don't see a lot of mimetic transcription of speech.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #34
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I would agree with those that say that grammatically it is poor form to use contractions when writing formally ie: narrative, but acceptable when writing speech.

Personally I would not like to read an author who used contractions as part of their narrative, mind you I also hate slang talk and text speak and am noticing more and more the inability of younger people in London to form a sensible sentence.

I am a right old fuddie duddie!
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:13 PM   #35
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It's because there's a shortage of apostrophes ....
well who took 'em!? get 'em back!

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Other than Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Saul Bellow, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, Pearl S. Buck, Willa Cather, John Dos Passos and the like, that would be a good guess. But in my limited sample I don't see a lot of mimetic transcription of speech.
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I would agree with those that say that grammatically it is poor form to use contractions when writing formally ie: narrative, but acceptable when writing speech.

Personally I would not like to read an author who used contractions as part of their narrative, mind you I also hate slang talk and text speak and am noticing more and more the inability of younger people in London to form a sensible sentence.

I am a right old fuddie duddie!
I'm going to have to dig up some authors that I found pretty much unreadable due to the dialogue
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:21 PM   #36
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I' Shakespeare even, 'tis common to find contractions. Oft-found they have e'er been, no? Where is the evidence that they are uncommon?
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:32 PM   #37
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In the book(s) The E. E. 'Doc' Smith Omnibus that I'm reading. And please, don't tell anyone else about the kind of cheap pulp SciFi that I'm reading.

It does have some contractions in the dialogs, but not all that much. I've found the same thing with some of the older (1930 - 1950/60) fiction that I've read.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:07 PM   #38
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In the book(s) The E. E. 'Doc' Smith Omnibus that I'm reading. And please, don't tell anyone else about the kind of cheap pulp SciFi that I'm reading.

It does have some contractions in the dialogs, but not all that much. I've found the same thing with some of the older (1930 - 1950/60) fiction that I've read.
what do you mean cheap pulp, man. The Lesman's series is the absolute masterpiece of SF ever written in the two Galaxies.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:17 PM   #39
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Two of the Skylark books are public domain and available at Project Gutenberg.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:09 PM   #40
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I' Shakespeare even, 'tis common to find contractions. Oft-found they have e'er been, no? Where is the evidence that they are uncommon?
That's largely, though, to make the words fit the metre of the blank verse that most of Shakespeare's plays are written in. (eg "e'er" is one syllable compared to two syllables for "ever"). If you look at examples of prose in Shakespeare, as opposed to poetry, contractions are much less common.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:30 PM   #41
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Two of the Skylark books are public domain and available at Project Gutenberg.
Actualy when I got it from Fictionwise (or elsewhere ?) it was $0.00.


And didn't I ask you not to spread it around, Ben? Now everyone will know.

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Old 08-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #42
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That's largely, though, to make the words fit the metre of the blank verse that most of Shakespeare's plays are written in. (eg "e'er" is one syllable compared to two syllables for "ever"). If you look at examples of prose in Shakespeare, as opposed to poetry, contractions are much less common.
OK, Dickens - your favourite - looking at David Copperfield, we have "don't" "couldn't" "there's" "what's" "it's" &c &c &c

I'm still not convinced that there is good evidence that the implicit assertion is true.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:03 PM   #43
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OK, Dickens - your favourite - looking at David Copperfield, we have "don't" "couldn't" "there's" "what's" "it's" &c &c &c
Absolutely. Contractions were well and truly there by the later 19th century, when Dickens wrote. But look at Austen, who was writing about 80 or so years earlier - much less common there.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:03 PM   #44
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Absolutely. Contractions were well and truly there by the later 19th century, when Dickens wrote. But look at Austen, who was writing about 80 or so years earlier - much less common there.
Sure, but the OP was about more recent works, I thought. Where is the evidence that contractions are generally lacking?

Looking at Pride and Prejudice, you're right that contractions are rare (but "se'ennight" was new to me). Not all authors of that time are the same.

These things follow fashions, and evolve. I remember reading in Lewis Carroll, things like sha'n't - which you don't see today.
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:25 AM   #45
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Sure, but the OP was about more recent works, I thought. Where is the evidence that contractions are generally lacking?

Looking at Pride and Prejudice, you're right that contractions are rare (but "se'ennight" was new to me). Not all authors of that time are the same.

These things follow fashions, and evolve. I remember reading in Lewis Carroll, things like sha'n't - which you don't see today.
often ....
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