Author’s Blog: A Question of English

Which English language? There are many.

Anyone one who has read my book(s) will have begun to realise that I love languages. But it may be perplexing when I shift between American English and British English. (I am conversant in both.) I am an American but Elspeth Duff is Scottish. Hmm.

When I wrote A Murder in Malta, I made the decision to switch between the two forms of English depending on whose point of view I was writing in. Elspeth and Richard think in British English, and therefore talk of a ‘car park’ or a ‘lorry.’ As an American Loren thinks of a ‘parking lot’ and ‘a truck.’ I hope this does not confuse readers.

Also a note about Elspeth’s English accent: Although Elspeth is a Scotswoman, she speaks in what many a normal Scot would call “posh” English. She is the granddaughter of an earl after all and was educated at the exclusive Blair School for Girls. About fifteen per cent of Scots do speak this sort of English. It also may be why, in later books, you will learn that when in America Elspeth tires of being called ‘English’ rather than ‘Scottish’ and learns to speak unaccented standard American English when she is there or speaking to an American elsewhere. Needless to say I have had fun with this.