Home / Books / Discussion Post: Dialect and Unusual Use of Language

Discussion Post: Dialect and Unusual Use of Language

I happened to have come across a few books recently that use dialect and interesting uses of language. The Dustlands series (Blood Red Road) stands out as my most fresh example.

Use of Dialect

rebel heart moira young

The author of the series, Moira Young, writes exactly how the characters talk. A few examples are”ezackly (exactly),” “afeared (afraid) and “ferever (forever).”

Although it was a little off-putting at first, I began to appreciate the style of writing. It made me feel like I was in the characters head. It also allowed me a better glance at the time and culture of the book.

For the most part, people can’t read in the book, and they haven’t been formally educated at all. The dialect serves a purpose here.

Dialect seemed to show the same cultural and status differences in Poison Princess. It was not used throughout the whole novel, but the Louisiana kids from the lower basin spoke cajun and their mixed language is used in the book.

What books have you read that have used dialect? Did you like or dislike it? What purpose did do you think the author had in using it?

Unusual Use of Language and Style

Shatter Me did something I’ve never seen before in a book – phrases and words were crossed through like this. At first, I was very confused, but I started to warm to the technique.

In this book, the crossed out phrases and fragmented sentences all reflect the mind of a girl who’s been locked up most of her life and who has powers that frighten her. It was a very unique way to use language and style to get that point across

Have you read Shatter Me, or another book that used language and style in an unusual way? Did it work for you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share them in the comments.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Jen

    Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen was also written partially in dialect. I was annoyed at first but after I got used to it and understood why the character was speaking that way it made more sense and didn’t bother me as much.

  • I read The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell, and as I remember it’s got a lot of Southern dialect influences and intonations to the language, which made it all the more immersive 🙂


  • Eden Phillips Harrington

    ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness was written completely phonetically which was confusing at first but after a while it was a lovely addition to his characterisation of the main character, Todd.