chapter  EIGHT
22 Pages

The Italian Dialect

WithLewis Herman, Marguerite Shalett Herman

Like the language, the Italian dialect is melodic and warm. The language has a great many vowel sounds which are carried over into the dialect. Lilt is an important factor in any dialect. It would be possible to simulate the feel of a dialect with lilt alone, if all that was spoken was gibberish. The Italian lilt is very important in the reproduction of the dialect. It calls for, first, a complete relaxing of all the throat muscles. With such a musical dialect, it is obvious that much of the syllabic and word emphasis is obtained from a tonal treatment rather than from a stressed treatment — that is, from a change of musical note rather than from an increased expulsion of breath. In syllabic emphasis, the Italian dialect generally allows the emphasis to fall on the next-to-the-last syllable. American conjugations are so difficult for Italians—and for all foreigners—that they prefer to drop them rather than try to use them.