I was told I’m taking a tour to of prospective students of chines to a Chinese class here, so I tried to remember what I know of the language. Wo yao cher nee means “I want to eat you”, wo ei nee means “I love you”. I was advised not to say this as I greeted my tour, and I agreed. Then we looked up the phonology of chinese, regarding the 5 tones.
Then Allie explained the phonology of Ancient Greek as being a short-long system as opposed to our sense of syllabic ‘stress’. She did a project on ancient Greek music, and apparently their language was very musical, one essentially sang when they spoke.
This is something I’ve been noticing about speaking Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. My director Jean Randich has started to insist on applying different relative pitches in my voice to different words. Take for instance the scene where my character Capulet tells Paris his daughter is too young to be married just yet:
“My daughter hath not seen the change of fourteen years
Let two more summers whither in their pride
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride”
Last night Jean insisted that I wasn’t saying it like a person, and that my voice should actually rise in pitch at ‘fourteen years’ because that’s what’s important in the phrase—she’s only thirteen! When I did it I suddenly realized that this is wholly musical in thinking about phrasing: speaking Shakespeare is really singing. When I took voice this term I knew that generally, learning how to use my voice would help my acting, but I had no idea that intellectually the issues associated with creating meaning within a song apply almost directly to making meaning of the words in Shakespeare.
It makes me wonder, when did our modern American English language get so unmusical? Now that I think about it, this is exactly what I’ve been writing about since before and during college: the marriage of music and speech.
Then Emma just showed me Epic Meal Time-TurBacon Challenge (80,000 calories of meat. Gross.)