Professional Storytelling (5)
The fact that pinghua and pingshu belong to the spoken genres, told in local dialect, does not imply that the language is entirely in prose, nor that it is entirely in vernacular home tongue jiaxianghua. On the contrary, both verse passages, passages in literary Chinese wenyan, and officialese passages in heavy bookish style shumian yu, are part of the linguistic equipment of the storyteller. Some excel in the imitation of other dialects when rendering the speech of people from the various parts of the country. Moreover, the storyteller plays on a wide stylistic register of different sub-dialectal pronunciations as manifested in the speaking style or 'mouth' shuokou. Apart from dialectal differences, the specific selection and application of shuokou make important distinguishing features between the local genres which are further subdivided into different schools men or pai, distinguished by spoken style as well as by repertoire.
Next: Contents of storytelling