Submitted by jomelfuentes on April 28, 2010

Victorian Era English

My teen-age daughter wrote a psychological thriller novella, “Keeping Her in the Light” last summer that Canada-based Eternal Press published last November.

She wants to finish another psychological thriller that she started writing 2 years ago. The setting is during the Victorian Era. She stopped writing this novella because she feels that the conversations in her novella should be in the style of the Victorian Era.

Kindly advise if there is a software or method of converting modern day English to the Victorian Era English.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jomel Fuentes Manila, Philippines

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http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=is...

Short though she was, Victoria ascented the throne in 1837; so at the start of the Vicotorian Era "shall" may have been used as oft as will.

Present continuous seems to have grown during her long regnum.

You are right about 'here comes' ; what I meant to imply was that putting the adverb of place first will allow the use of a simple verb instead of continuous without breaking modern verb patterns : eg Into the station pulled the train. Whether this is a good idea or not hinges on the context of course.

You might wish to review my late ramblngs on the Anglish thread; I was much surprised at how seldom future continuous crops up, and the fact that "have been wanting" was relatively common a few hundred years ago. Not quite sure that Headway etc get the right emphasis on what matters.

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@jayles - You're no doubt right about 'will' and 'shall' instead of present continuous with future meaning, but I'm not so sure about 'here comes':

Charlotte Bronté - Jane Eyre

is coming 1 - Tell her, Sam, a gentleman is coming
here comes / there goes 0

Emily Bronté - Wuthering Heights

is coming - 4
Don’t make more mischief; my brother is coming: be quiet!
Ah, he has caught a glimpse of us—he is coming in!
‘I’ve prayed often,’ he half soliloquised, ‘for the approach of what is coming
Catherine is coming, dear master!

here comes / there goes 0

Anne Bronté - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

is coming 2
He is coming to see me soon
But death will come—it is coming now—fast, fast!

here comes 2
and here comes my aunt to scold me
Ah, here comes one that will not rejoice at it!

'shall' is certainly used a lot, but mainly as an alternative to 'will' - in Jane Eyre there are around 260 instances, mostly in the first person, a couple with 'he/she' and around 20 with 'you'.

But the real way to sound Brontéesque is to have your characters ejaculate a lot:

Jane Eyre - 'he/she ejaculated' - 7
Wuthering heights - 'he/she ejaculated' - 5
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - 'he/she ejaculated' - 3

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One must strive to imitate the language of the Bronte sisters and others of that ilk. Using a dialect is more likely to be credible.
Use the "thou" forms instead of "you" when addressing one family member or lover.
Use modals like shall, may, will instead of some continuous forms:
eg Will she come? <==Is she coming?
Here comes the carriage <== The carriage is coming

Be wary of familiarity : inside lower class families yes; servant to master never

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I would like to add suggestions. For exclamations and responses, say things like: Oh dear! Bless me! Fancy that! What the devil....and when a character is talking about their opinions, things like: I rather think...I quite like it....It was most (insert adjective here). In dialogue, use adjectives like frightful, dreadful, beastly, queer. Tell people things like "Do stop (insert verb here)!"

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You could start with OneLook.com, which checks the word in a lot of dictionaries. It found definitions for 6 out of 9 words I found from a collection of curious Victorian words and sayings at http://www.smittenbybritain.com/20-curious-vict... Wordnik is also usually quite good, but seems to be having server problems at the moment.

GIGGLEMUG - No
MAFFICKING - Yes
SKILAMALINK - No
SKILLY - Yes
DADDLES - Yes
PODSNAPPERY - Yes
BLUDGER - Yes
BROADING - No
DOLLYSHOP - Yes

Two out of the other three were easy enough to find with Google, leaving only broading - 'not found'

There is also a dictionary of Victorian slang - http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/a-dic...

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Can someone post a website that I can translate Victorian English to Modern English?
I hate ones that are not giving me the translation and just says "word not found".

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Up has been in the English tung as a verb since Old English:

uppian - To mount up, rise :-- Ðæt wæter, ðonne hit bið gepynd, hit miclaþ and *uppaþ* and fundaþ wið ðæs ðe hit ǽr.
*þ=th, thus uppath = uppath.

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I do not agree with certain cultures being responsible for "polluting" other cultures language, grammar, etc. I'm not American, nor do I blame American's for my own cultures language. That would be ignorant to say the least. However, I do agree that the level of expectation has rotted down to a level of near filth.

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Hey yall, I'm writing an Victorian era book. It's very interasting and sure i'm not the best at it but after reading some i got used to it. I also watched some movies about it.

@niceone... Us americans didn't do nothing. I'm from Texas and i speak dixi and it's a real languge also sure we have our own languge it's how we talk get over it. I don't appercate that because i'm sure you sometimes speak like us "Americans" and there was affencise. Us country folks don't appercate it when someone talks about other languges! And "polluted" no we didn't! If you want to talk about pollution look around! Trash everywhere, air being polluted, water bein polluted, and all that! So don't even say we are polluting languges!

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@Porsche ... Yea, I know Niceone was criticizing shotgun's remark ... I guess it depends on how you look at it. Niceone's "it" was referring to the blog (not just the post) that went to just another stupid internet blog in 0.6 seconds. ... My remark was that it was over a year before shotgun post his remark (a lot longer than 0.6 seconds).

If Niceone is saying that 0.6 seconds after reading shotgun's post that "it" (meaning the whole blog) "went to just another stupid internet blog" then I would still say that Niceone is a year late because sara.dee72's benighted, unsupported, snotty remark had already done that. ... So Niceone is still behind by a year and not sharing the wite, just putting it all on shotgun.

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AnWulf, I think you missed Niceone's point. Clearly, he was criticizing shotgun's comment, not Sara.dee72's.

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I was hoping for a similar app, im writing a story for english, its in the 1700's but i just cant seem to write in victorian english. Hopefully someone will make an app for this.

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@Niceone ... Actually, it was over a year before that comment was made and while I agree with it, I usually ignore broad and unfounded accusations like the one by Sara.dee72. It's better to let those benighted words stand for themselves.

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Hahaha. "Perhaps one would obtain a reasonable grounding in Victorian English vocabulary by reading a Victorian English book. May I be so bold as to suggest any book by one of the Brotë sisters or even a Dickens novel. Victorian English really was a beautiful language; however it is now very much in decline. Some purists still speak it around this beautiful country and it is wanderful to hear. Sadly, English has become 'polluted' by numerous colourful Americanisms - No offence intended."

--- "blah blah blah watt eva"

It goes from intellectual to just another stupid internet blog in 0.6 seconds.
Congratulations, moron.

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Good Afternoon,

Perhaps one would obtain a reasonable grounding in Victorian English vocabulary by reading a Victorian English book. May I be so bold as to suggest any book by one of the Brotë sisters or even a Dickens novel. Victorian English really was a beautiful language; however it is now very much in decline. Some purists still speak it around this beautiful country and it is wanderful to hear. Sadly, English has become 'polluted' by numerous colourful Americanisms - No offence intended.
Kindest Regards

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There is no easy shortcut to just reading a lot of victorian english, and getting to know the lingo, I'm afraid.

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As far as I have experienced, there really aren't any guidelines or methods for rewriting something into a different form of English. I have never done this specific exercise, but I have rewritten blog posts & personal press releases originally drafted by non-American English speakers. It seems simple, but you would be amazed at how different your own language can be in a different part of the world.

I know less about Victorian Era English than I do more modern variants, but there are a couple suggestions I can offer. I am sure that she has read a few books written from that era.
• Be very keen for culture-specific expressions--words, phrases & idioms.
• Be conscious of subtlety. Back then, many things we find commonplace were immoral and taboo to talk about, so adopting the language of someone like Chuck Palahniuk might not be the best idea.
• Look for any patterns in sentence structure; people spoke much more elaborately and eloquently back then, so you might need to write more than 140 characters per sentence.

I hope this helps!

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