Australia 12

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 47

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1968

PLACE OF BIRTH: Marseilles, France

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Caucasian

OCCUPATION: chief promotions officer and translator for the Elx Institute of Tourism.

EDUCATION: degrees/diplomas in translation interpreting, tourism and occitan studies

AREA(S) OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:

He has lived in France, Australia and Spain.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

The speaker is fluent in six languages.

The text used in our recordings of scripted speech can be found by clicking here.

RECORDED BY: Subject

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/2002

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

I was born in Marseilles, France, in 1958 of Spanish parents.  Um, my father moved to France for political reasons, fleeing from Franco’s political regime in Spain.  He settled in Marseilles, southern France, and my mother arrived a year later.  Mmm, she already had my two older sisters and brother.  My two younger sisters were also born in Marseilles.  I’ve had four home languages.  I spoke French and Spanish with my mother, mainly French (she’s quite a cultivated person); French and Catalan with my father, mainly Catalan, since he’s very attached to his mother tongue.  Mmm, I spoke mostly French with my older sisters and brother and, uh, I switched to English with my two younger sisters a couple of years after migrating to Australia in 1968.  I’ve, uh, spoken English with my sister Rebecca until she died a few years ago.  As you can see, my home has always been a Tower of Babel.  I think I’ve passed my love of languages to my family.  I’m married to, to a Catalan-speaking wife, and Catalan is our home language with our son and daughter.  I’ve made it a point they learned English and French from an early age since they are natural bilinguals in Catalan and Spanish.  So I speak English or French with them from time to time.  I’ve always been really good at languages, literature and music.  I’m not so good at mathematics.  I used to struggle a lot to pass those.  I remember being the first of the class, in the English class I mean, just a couple of years after settling in Sydney when I was only 9 years old.  That was quite amazing because most of the pupils were of Anglo-Saxon background.  I was very often out of my home and spoke English all the time, or most of the time.  I remember having a couple of friends of Italian origin and understanding, well, more or less understanding, their mothers, who spoke a Sicilian dialect.  I could also more or less understand a French Creole from Mauritius when I went to another friend’s house.  That was quite a funny situation because they couldn’t understand how I could understand.  Well, I was told that the French never understood French creoles.  I suppose I was born to be a linguist.  I live in my parents’ hometown since I was fourteen-and-a-half.  I vividly remember my cousins laughing at my English accent, although after a few months I had teenage friends who didn’t believe I was able to speak foreign languages since my Valencian-Catalan dialect became so native, really fast I mean..  I’ve, uh, passed a B.A. degree in tourism studies and a M.A. degree in translation and interpreting.  I’m, uh, an expert in Catalan dialects and I took a subject on English dialects as well.  I had excellent professors and I had an excellent professor from the United Sta-, from the States, well, from Arizona.  The prestigious form of English in Spain is still British received pronunciation and most of the students still go to Great Britain, although some dogo to the U.S.  The U.S. accent is taken for less genuine in Spain.  I now work as a civil servant from the town hall and I’m in charge of tourism promotion for the city.  So I travel widely all over Europe.  As an adult, I learned two years of German; I’m almost fluent in Italian and I can manage in Portuguese and Occitan.  Occitan Provencal is closely related to Catalan and I am a Catalan language writer and journalist as well.  So, uh, I travel to England every year for at least a fortnight.  I travel to the London area every year for at least a fortnight and I’ve got a lot of British friends who’ve made the Mediterranean coast, the Spanish Mediterranean coast I mean, their home.  I’m told I’ve still got an Australian accent although it has been influenced through my contact with England and I suppose it’s quite educated.  Nobody takes me for Catalan, Spanish or French, although those were the languages I spoke most as a young child.  And I can walk, I imagine, through Madrid, Barcelona, Paris or London without being considered a foreigner.  Well, by my looks I’m the average five-eight, light-skinned, green eyes European.  Even my surname, of Catalan origin, Marti [spelling?], doesn’t sound foreign in any of those countries.  I will now tell you and translate two tongue twisters in Catalan.  Plou poc, però per lo poc que plou, plou prou, i total que plou plou en el pou.  It doesn’t rain very much; but even if it doesn’t rain very much, it rains enough, and all the rain goes to the well.  And the other is:  [Subject demonstrates tongue twister in Catalan and translates into English] a small orange tree, which has been well pruned with scissors.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Lynn Baker

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 02/04/2008

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

The speaker provided the following analysis himself: “I spoke Catalan with my father, Spanish and mostly French with my mother, French with my older sisters and brother, and mostly English with my two younger sisters after settling in Australia, where I lived more than five years (1968-1973) as a very young child. I learn languages very easily, and I tend to take the accent of the country. I have no real foreign accent in Catalan, Spanish, French or English, and I’m usually taken for a native speaker of those languages. In my translation studies, I specialised in English conference interpreting. I travel widely all over Europe and practice all my languages, and English as well, quite often. I travel to Great Britain every year, and I remember clearly that British English was the model followed during my school years in Australia (1968-1973). I remember being reprimanded by teachers if we used Americanisms such as “movies” for “pictures.” The Australian Northern Territory was, obviously, the Australian Northern Territory, and the School Library was obviously pronounced the British way. I’ve read in IDEA that this isn’t the case for the younger generations of Australians. I fully agree with one of the recordings as far as the model of British English is regarded, until the early seventies in Australia. I imagine that the fact that my contacts with English have been mainly with the London and southern varieties since then can also be traced in my speech, but a lot already came with me from Australia.”

COMMENTARY BY: Subject

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/2002

The archive provides:

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  • Text of the speakers’ biographical details.
  • Scholarly commentary and analysis in some cases.
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