chapter  ELEVEN
14 Pages

The Chinese Dialect

WithLewis Herman, Marguerite Shalett Herman

Although the various branches of the Chinese language are derived from one common stock, all are quite different. The typical foreign-born Chinese speaks in a high-pitched, nasalized voice and the public has somehow come to expect that all Chinese must speak so or else they are impostors. The emphasis in the Chinese dialect is more on tone than on stress. Thus there are only four accents one could give a word and each must be an accent of pitch. Another point to remember is that in the Chinese language each word is only one syllable, and each syllable has its own accent. The Chinese language uses the aspirate "uh" which is a natural carry-over into the dialect. Many American words seem too long for even the most educated foreign-born Chinese because the Chinese are used to one-syllable words. The Chinese language has no words or word endings to indicate gender, tense, mood, person or number.