I try to avoid that method for transferring dialect to the published page.
For years I would work in some apostrophes, avoid hyphens, and then just use phonetics to translate the sounds. The first few editors to whom I submitted did not seem keen on this tactic and they tried to school me on writing dialect. Most of the time their advice was for me to just cut it the heck out and forget about dialect.
Yeah. Well. Fuck them.
Sometimes dialect is really hard to convey. The types of dialect I try to use in my work are the types of dialect I encounter in my life--mainly various southern dialects. One kind that is really hard to show on the page is one that I hear when I'm dealing with people who live in the lower foothills of Appalachia. Yeah, that's right. There are actually variations of the dialects of the mountain-speak one hears in the higher mountains. I suppose these are people who either went no farther than the upper edge of the Piedmont and were influenced by folk from lower elevations, or they are people from the Piedmont whose speech patterns have been altered due to relatively recent contact with those moon-shine makin' butt-fuckers from the mountains. Either way, it's a funny dialect that is so unique that I find myself wanting to use it in my fiction.
But damned if it is very easy to do. These people tend to make two syllables out of one-syllable words. Simple words like "and" become "AY-and". While "pan"turns into "PAY-an". Or "bit" is pronounced "BEE-yit". If you try to write anything like that within a line of dialog you are going to run into a Jupiter-sized world of trouble. So the best way to get the idea across is the all-knowing narrator to mention the facts of life of the speech patterns one or two times so that the reader gets it locked into their mind's ear, or to have one of the other characters think to themselves how the speaker of this dialect enunciates their words.
However, for sheer effectiveness, the best method I see is to write stretches of dialect phonetically with no goddamned apostrophes, hyphens, or commas that muck it all up so that the lines end up looking like something Jackson Pollock dribbled onto the page.
I had almost gotten it right a few times when I combined phonetics with apostrophes. My mistake was in allowing the apostrophes at all. The idea first hit me when an old friend of mine from Atlanta was showing me a batch of Civil War letters he had purchased in a collection. These were genuine Civil War letters written by a Confederate soldier to his family back home. In those days a lot of people were only mildly educated unless they could afford advanced schooling. What you ended up with were men and women who had a rough understanding of the written word but not the finer details. In those cases those people wrote phonetically. I'll give you an example from one of the actual letters I was allowed to read. It concerned the outcome of a horrible battle in which the soldier had been involved, and I will quote him exactly as he wrote the line.
"They was considerbel many killt today."
Now...we all know what he meant. What an educated man would have written was: "There were considerable many killed today."
And his letter went on and on in this way. Words like "Yalls" for "your", etc.
When I read this letter I knew how I'd write dialect from then on. The first story I wrote after that was set in the 1870s and was created using snippets of letters from a man in Colorado written to his parents in Tennessee, along with scenes of action and dialog between his compatriots. All dialog was written just as they would have said it--in phonetics. I did not use hyphens or apostrophes to butcher the written words as the characters were slicing and dicing the English language. The reactions I got from editors were less kind than my other methods--they all seemed to prefer Master Lovecraft's manner of conveying dialect.
Some years later I encountered the work of writers like Cormac McCarthy and Harry Crews who were penning critically acclaimed fiction using just such a technique as I had envisioned. This felt good and I knew I had been right all along, and that the editors I'd encountered who had complained were full of shit.
Or SHE it, if you will.
This video has nothing whatsoever to do with my blog. I do listen to this guy's videos on YouTube from time to time because he talks often of camping and woodcraft. Also, I love the guy's dialect and try to think of how to translate it to the written page.