chapter  SIX
18 Pages

The German Dialect

WithLewis Herman, Marguerite Shalett Herman

Strictly speaking, there is little lilt in the German language or dialect. The definition of lilt is "a rhythmical swing or cadence." Neither the language nor the dialect has these qualities. The keynote of the German pitch is somewhat below that of normal American. There is a suggestion of the Swedish sing-song, rise-and-fall quality in German speech— but only a suggestion, for this trait is not as exaggerated as it is in Swedish. Many Germans retain the initial-syllable emphasis of their native tongue. But the fact remains that the emphasis in the German dialect should be a bit heavier than in the American. It should be further noted that the vowel-glide governs the tonal emphasis in all inner-word emphasis. The German dialect is affected by its consonant changes than by its vowel changes. There are a number of German words that are carried over into the dialect speech. These can be used occasionally but only enough to flavor the dialect.