Friday, September 05, 2014

Say what?

The process for recording an audiobook is fascinating. Blackstone Books produces Poisoned Pen Press books. The company is meticulous and I’m very fortune to have had Karen White, a top narrator, for all of my mysteries. She has a terrific voice and carefully collaborates on every pronunciation decision.

How can there be any controversy over how to say a word? You would be surprised. There was a lot of discussion involved with the Spanish honorific doña. Since the Spanish family in my newest book, Hidden Heritage, had lived in this country a long, long time, would they be using a fairly rare variation of pronunciation followed by a little known group in Spain. Or would they instead cling to the more formal and better known Castilian? To Castilian or not to Castilian. That was the question. Four researchers were involved. I can’t tell how much I appreciated the care they took.

Where you live and where you are from has everything to do with how you pronounce a word. If you live in the top half of Kansas you will refer to the Arkansas River as AR-Kansas. If you live in the lower half of the state, it’s Ar-kan-saw. (like the state) I write about Northwest Kansas, so I say AR-Kansas.

This spring when I was in Northwest Kansas we had a very lively discussion over usage. When my family lived in Southwest Kansas I was puzzled over the word "bar-ditch."  I honestly did not know what it meant. Then I learned it was what those of us in Northwest Kansas simply called a "ditch." And it certain regions of Texas it's "barrow ditch." All the words meant the same thing. It's the hollow area resulting from borrowing dirt to make a road.

Usage must be negotiated before the final copy of a manuscript. All of my conflicts have been settled amicably. However, with some authors this is nothing short of a duel to the death. I pay a lot of attention to an editor's preferences because they are more to tuned in to the population as a whole.

 I was amused at how annoyed we were at this discussion when city folks used the wrong words. The worst offence has to do with vehicles. An SUV is NOT a truck and it’s referred to by the manufacturer’s name. I would say “go out to my Tahoe (or fill in the blank) and get my address book out of the glovebox.” Yes. glovebox. A truck is a truck. A pickup is not a truck. It’s a pickup and it is NEVER a pickup truck.

We in Western Kansas have spoken.

2 comments:

Aline Templeton said...

I have had a lot of problems over the years with Scottish words that baffle very English editors, though I've found North American readers adapt to them very well!

Aline Templeton said...

I have had a lot of problems over the years with Scottish words that baffle very English editors, though I've found North American readers adapt to them very well!