I have been reading a book lately in which the entire family speaks Vietnamese, but in order for the reader to understand, the dialogue is in English. However, it is written formally, with no contractions as I am writing to you right now. My question is, why?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rob_Ster, aparente001, Lawrence, tchrist Dec 25 '17 at 20:39

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about a literary choice, not a matter of English usage standards, – Rob_Ster Dec 25 '17 at 14:48
  • Agreed with @Rob_Ster, but if this is an established and intentional literary technique, they might be able to tell you more about it at Writing. I think the answer is “English without contractions sounds quite unnatural, and this ongoing slight frisson as you read reminds you that you’re ‘not reading English’, but you’re ‘reading Vietnamese’ (or whatever other language)”. It’s a cheap and easy way for the reader to maintain consciousness of the fact that the dialog is occurring in another language. – Dan Bron Dec 25 '17 at 14:50
  • It could be that the author is a lousy writer. Many people shout when speaking to people with limited English. It's not planned, and it's not smart or considerate. // Please, give us a link and a quote. – aparente001 Dec 25 '17 at 15:09
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because of what I explained. – aparente001 Dec 25 '17 at 15:11

This is because every contraction is different and very different and it is very difficult for a person with English as second language to remember everything - unless the user is trained continuously from a small age through reading, writing, listening and speaking, and has people around to correct him/her.

  • 3
    To my reading, the question isn’t “Why do people who have English as a foreign language not use contractions in English”, but “Why, when [native speaking] writers, writing dialog which is intended to be understood to be taking in another language, but of course is actually written in English for pragmatic purposes, does that English dialog not contain contractions?”. – Dan Bron Dec 25 '17 at 14:52
  • This is certainly a wrong answer — at best. It may also be an answer to another question, but it certainly isn't working here, noreven vaguely true in the very least possible way. – tchrist Dec 25 '17 at 16:52

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