Are You Ready to Drop Italics For Foreign Words in Fiction? 

 I came across this post and thought it was interesting. I understand the argument – italicizing makes foreign words stand out and is not how we speak – but I think it will take a while for the slow-moving literary world to come around to this thinking.

I think it would be fine to drop the italics, especially if the foreign words are used throughout the text. The reader will figure it out.

What do you think?


The practice can sound unnatural, and reinforces a monolinguistic culture of othering…

Source: When to use italics with foreign words in fiction — Quartzy
by Thu-Huong Ha

4 thoughts on “Are You Ready to Drop Italics For Foreign Words in Fiction? 

  1. I read the post and watched the video and yes, I’m convinced! Italics should really just be used for words that are emphasized, no longer for non-english speaking words. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Christine.

  2. I always assumed they did it so that the reader knows it’s not a typo.

    LOTR did it a lot with their own languages. As a bilingual (English/Spanish), this has never bothered me, but I haven’t come across a book that did it too much. Thanks for sharing!

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