English or Authentic?

If you’ve read Tai-Pan by James Clavell, you’d certainly remember that pretty much every character was recognisable by his or her speech alone.

“A pox on his godrotten island, by God. Wot be all the delay, baint he here already?”


“Dinna fash yoursel’, lad. We are na in the Chinese quarters.”


“By Jove, in a manner o’ speakin’, matey! I be keeper o’ the sea.”

So… you get the picture.

Now imagine a 16-century conquistador speaking.

Which of the below three sentences do you find more appealing in a novel written in English? And why?

What’s your opinion on ‘spicing up’ the narrative with the ‘authentic’ words now and then? What’s the right balance between too much and too little?

Please note: ‘Griego’ is the 16-century Spanish word for ‘gringo’. It used to mean  “unintelligible, foreign” and referred to all foreingers, especially the English.

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