chapter  ONE
4 Pages

Dialect Characterization

WithLewis Herman, Marguerite Shalett Herman

Few actors can simulate an acceptable and convincing dialect. Since they have had no authentic source book to turn to, many have attempted to imitate the imitators. A favorite trick of radio actors who are called upon to double and sometimes to shift from one dialect into another, may be useful to the dialect student as an aid in falling into the dialect he intends to use. The most accessible source of genuine dialects is the radio. The art of the dialect is the twin art of being consistent with the fundamental and radical changes and of being consistently inconsistent with the less-important changes. If the dialect is to be very light, the radical changes may also become inconsistent. But if this point is reached, the character will be speaking an almost perfect American speech. A satisfactory, authentic dialect cannot be learned overnight, just as a foreign language cannot be learned in such a short period.