Archive for literary English

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

“Old-Fashioned English”–You’re Doing It Wrong

Delane Just

So, you want to use “old-fashioned” English in your fantasy or historical fiction novel? Or maybe you want to use it in your next Dungeons & Dragons campaign? Well, there is more to it than adding the letter E to everything, spelling everything wrong, and throwing in a few “thou”s and “huzzah”s every couple lines. Of course, it would be absurd to try to fully recreate Old English for your novel. With all the changes made throughout the centuries, Old English may as well be another language to Modern English speakers. Then how can you use “old-fashioned” sounding English in your novel accurately without losing your entire audience? How much archaic language is too much? Should you really spell everything wrong just because they did not have standardized spelling in the 1000-1400s? I am going to try to break down what does not work, and look at some ways to use “old-fashioned” English accurately and coherently.

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