In my book, 'The Grandson', the main character, Jessica and her mother, Mary are from Yorkshire. I've gathered from writing classes and creative writing books that using too much dialect when writing can put a reader off. Apparently it is best to sprinkle dialogue and a character's thoughts with the odd word which gives away where they're from. This makes it easier for the reader to take in the story.
Some writers break this rule however with success. I recently read 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett. Initially after reading a couple of pages, I put the book down because it is written using a great deal of dialect. (It is also written in first person present tense which I find difficult to read-see previous post) A friend told me to stick with it so I picked it up again and I'm glad I did. After a while I got used to the dialect and enjoyed the story which unfolded.
Using another language:
Most of my book is set in Tuscany. In earlier drafts I wrote much of the dialogue in Italian, typing the Italian in italics and putting the English translation afterwards.
eg. 'Stasera incontro mio nipote per la prima volta. Dimmi cara, com'è? Tonight I'm going to meet my grandson for the first time. Tell me dear, what's he like?'
When I read this out in writing classes, it clearly didn't work because two versions of the same dialogue slowed the story down. After reading several books set in countries where different languages are spoken, I worked out that I could put the dialogue in English but imply it was being spoken in Italian. This was made possible by adding the occasional word such as 'cara,' meaning dear or 'grazie,' meaning thank you. Another way was by phrasing the English so that it seemed as though an Italian speaker was saying it, translating the Italian literally sometimes instead of using the English equivalent.
eg. ‘Tonight I meet my grandson for the first time. Tell me cara, what is he like?’
An English speaker might say 'I'm going to meet my grandson tonight for the first time. What is he like?' We wouldn't necessarily say 'Tell me' whereas Italians use 'dimmi', meaning 'tell me' all of the time.
I'd be interested to read your comments on the use of dialect and other languages when writing. Have you broken the above rules and made it work?