The Matterhorn: truth in fiction
The Matterhorn with Dr. Kathleen Waller
Let's Do This: Multilingual Fiction | Episode 32

Let's Do This: Multilingual Fiction | Episode 32

Three ways to get started and an opportunity to share your work
Welcome to Let’s Do This
the weekly Matterhorn podcast as digestible 5 minute episodes with 3 ideas for starting points in your own work. Please feel free to share links to your own work in the comments!
This week’s full podcast episode:
A transcript of this episode is available on the web version.

Let’s Do This: Multilingual Fiction

  1. Consider the language of the story you’re writing. Why did you choose this language? Does it match the setting of the fiction or not? What other languages might be in play in your setting?

  2. Can you think of a way to include even just a word or two in another language to enhance the cultural identity of one of your characters? It might not be their own culture; for example, a character who enjoys food, fashion, or literature from another culture might remark on it by using a different language.

  3. Code switching is another way to think about language changes in your text. The change in language might be more subtle, like dialect or idioms or register or accents. Consider how the narrative voice and voice(s) of dialogue change. Why might a character do this?

EXTRA: Make Your Own Language Profile

This is so fun. And useful.

Take a few minutes to think about where your language use comes from. What languages were around you as a baby, and then as you got older? Where and why did you encounter languages other than your Mother Tongue(s)? What dialects or regional accents and idioms do you use?

Also think about how different languages make you feel as well as the way you’ve used them or heard them. Speaking, books, music, writing, government agencies…consider all these areas!

You can then map this out in any way you like. It can be a graph of your use of different languages or a mind map or timeline or a booklet of drawings…feel free to share yours on Notes! (or in the Chat if you’re a patron)

Please feel free to share links to your own work (including other forms of fiction - songs, visual art, film…) or copy and paste short sections to share with our readers!

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The Matterhorn: truth in fiction
The Matterhorn with Dr. Kathleen Waller
The Matterhorn is for writers and curious minds from author and academic Dr. Kathleen Waller.
Each week in this new season, Kathleen shares a chapter of her serialized novels - A Hong Kong Story & An Interpreter in Vienna - and uses it as a catalyst to discuss the layers of literature and how you can use these in your own writing.
The Matterhorn mission is to bring books and texts to life through an interdisciplinary and international approach as well as help writers take risks and create from knowledge.
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