So...I've noticed in almost all of the Hetalia fanfics I've read, that the writers tend to insert words from the country's native language/dialect/etc. (Often using Google Translate which is...) I will admit to doing these both before, but nowadays, I prefer to do an adequate amount of research into such phrases, making sure that I've bent the language appropriately and used words with the proper connotation before using it.
(Starred Links are the ones I found most helpful.)
However, in cases where a country has more than one national language, it's hard to get a proper translation.
In Switzerland, four languages are spoken: Swiss
- German, Romansch, French, and Italian, all in their various Swiss dialects. I've tried to shy away from the tangle that is Swiss Dialects and stick with basic Swiss-German
, but it's also important for me to remember that he's also just as likely to speak Swiss-French
, and slightly less likely to speak Romansch
As I've looked more into Swiss-German than the other languages, I'll speak about this one first.
Swiss-German is, for the most part, a very different from Standard German. They treat them as different languages and a German only and Swiss-German only speaker probably could not carry one a good conversation. Therefore, it is better to look into sites that list various translations, such as those provided below:
- Wikitravel Phrasebook (Two love phrases are placed under the 'Problems' category. This should not be the one you go to first, due to there being some errors.)
- Answers.com (How to say 'Yes'. I'm suspecting 'Yo' has a negative connotation, like a yes to confirm the negative, but I'm not sure.)
- Basic Phrases/Names
- ★More Phrases/Names (Many more than the previous one, and there are a few explanations.)
- Omniglot (Kind of like Wikitravel, same kind of errors. Some are passable words, but probably wouldn't be used.)
- Now, if you noticed, no wasn't listed in any of them. I don't know if this is because they don't really use yes or no (Latin has no yes or no, so it's wouldn't be the first language to do something close.) that often or because they're close enough to German, but I did manage to find something. This. CTRL+F and 'Switzerland' would do work in most browsers, but in case you have no way to search the page, the listed Swiss-German word is 'Nei'. No 'n' at the end.
- There are definitely more resources out there, but this should be enough to get you started.
As they were kind enough to list a few differences between Swiss-French and French in the Wikipedia, I'll give you the link to that.
- Grammar (If you're interested.)
- Forum (A few in here, if you can pick them out.)
- Not a lot is listed here, really. If you look harder than I did, I'm sure you can find something that's Swiss-French, but it's evident that Swiss-German's more widely known on the internet.
- Thing (Shows the differences between the dialects. English translation is at the bottom of the page.)
Prussia is...a very debated character. Many claim that he is dead, others claim that he's not. Well guys, sorry to disappoint you all, but your favorite egotistical dudeguy is 100% alive. Not dead. Alive. That's why he calls Germany 'West'. It's 'cause he's 'East'. So first he represented the Order of Teutonic Knights, (which conquered the old Prussians, I think) then Prussia, (though the Teutonic knights continued to exist) and now East Germany. Which makes all those Berlin Wall fics slightly more...historically accurate? Well anyways, since there are so many German dialects, I understand that most of you would prefer to keep to Standard German. But haven't you ever thought of having him speak the language (Old) Prussian
? Nowadays, he'd speak Standard German, sure, but it would add a little something new to the story. Because of the simple reason that (Old) Prussian used to exist, even though it's no longer in use now.
The beauty of this is that there are actual databases online for this.
- ★Big 'ol Dictionary (I don't have a clue about accuracy, but this is pretty thorough. I wouldn't try forming a full blown sentence from it though.
- Converter (Once again, I don't know about the accuracy.)
British vs. American English
Hidekaz Himaruya, creator of Hetalia, has already brought to our attention that word mix ups can lead to...situations. On a less situational note, the words that come to my mind first are the British 'lift' and the American 'elevator' along with the British 'water closet' and the American 'toilet' (which we got the name from the French, by the way). There are some more subtle differences, like whilst and while and then the whole list of bad words and a few others. Of course, there's a lot of things available on the internet on this, but I'll just give a few.
- Some term changes (Which is the reason I'll always speak English the American way, while understanding the British way just as easily.)
- A more explained thing (This one's probably just as good.)
- Wikipedia Stuff 1 2 3
There are two official written standards, Nynorsk
being more widely used, and there are the four main dialects and the sometimes included fifth and sixth. I don't know much on this topic, just that I'm utterly confused by it and will probably look more into it in the future. (And of course update this then.)
I plan to continue this, it's just that that's all I can remember right now...and I have to go to bed. If you see something you want to add, change, or anything, let me know!
My motivation behind this list is because these things...I don't know. I just like to work with accuracy.