England 60

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 59

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1946

PLACE OF BIRTH: Wigan, Lancashire

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: white

OCCUPATION: engineering, retired

EDUCATION: Subject attended school until age 15.

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

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

Subject maintains a Website dealing with the Wigan dialect: http://homepages.tesco.net/~jeffunsworth/homepage.htm. (He reads one of his compositions at the conclusion of the recording.)

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

RECORDED BY: Jeff Unsworth

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 11/12/2005

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 1946 in a small village by the name of Platt Bridge, which is part of the Wigan Metropolitan Borough in Lancashire, England. I’m the second son of a typical working-class family mostly made up of colliery workers. The males in my family were predominantly coalface workers, and some of the women were what was known as pit-row lassies. I left secondary education while still 14 years old and a week later, I’m turning 15, I began working in an engineering factory. I remained working in one engineering capacity or another for the next forty-five years. I’m now retired. One of my interests is dialect poetry. I have over the years written quite a lot of dialect verse, which includes numerous dialect phrases and sayings that I can remember, as a child when I was growing up in the forties and fifties. I do feel that there’s a great difference between local accent and local dialect. The Wigan accent contains very flat vowel sounds, but it is very understandable. On the other hand, the local Wigan dialect is not so easily understood, especially by people who come from outside the area and this dialect very often needs translation.  I feel that it’s sad that a lot of the old phrases and sayings are being lost as time goes by, as our communities are becoming more and more diverse. For this reason, I’ve attempted to write my poems using many local phrases and sayings both in a humorous and a poignant situation. Here is one of my poems. I think it’s a good example of Wigan dialect verse. The poem is entitled, El Topay:
It started with a bald spot
About as big as half a crown.
Then it gotten bigger
And worked its road around.
Every time I had a bath
Or washed my hair at night,
I’d look down onto the floor,
There would be hair all round my feet.
Falling out in chunks it was.
Bald as a coot on top.
And then I tried a toupee,
It looked just like a mop.
I said I wouldn’t wear it,
Wife said it looked all right.
I said that folk would laugh at me
Because it looked a sight.
She got her way, I wore it,
It was stuck on with tape and pinned.
But everybody laughed at me
It blew of in the bloody wind.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Phil Hubbard

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 03/07/2008

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY: N/A

COMMENTARY BY: N/A

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

The archive provides:

  • Recordings of accent/dialect speakers from the region you select.
  • Text of the speakers’ biographical details.
  • Scholarly commentary and analysis in some cases.
  • In most cases, an orthographic transcription of the speakers’ unscripted speech.  In a small number of cases, you will also find a narrow phonetic transcription of the sample (see Phonetic Transcriptions for a complete list).  The recordings average four minutes in length and feature both the reading of one of two standard passages, and some unscripted speech. The two passages are Comma Gets a Cure (currently our standard passage) and The Rainbow Passage (used in our earliest recordings).

 

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