How Should We Format Non-English Words? – by Jami Gold…

Last month, we discussed if we should use italics for a character’s thoughts. As part of that post, we mentioned the risk of overdoing italics. Words are emphasized when in italics, so by italicizing too much, we end up emphasizing nothing.

A similar problem with italics can crop up when we include non-English words (including invented words) in our stories. Especially as authors and audiences have grown in diversity, many have advocated for the usual “rules” regarding how to format non-English words to be reexamined.

Let’s take a look at the existing standards for formatting non-English words, explore some of our options, and figure out when the usual guidelines might not work well for us.

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