Germany 4

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 20s

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

PLACE OF BIRTH: Ludwigshafen, Germany

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: German (exact ethnicity unknown)

OCCUPATION: Ph.D. student

EDUCATION: Subject was attending university when recorded, going for his doctorate.

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

He was raised in Waldorf, Germany. He spent a year as an exchange student in Leawood, Kansas, United States, then spent the first two years of university in London, England.  After traveling around Germany, he came to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, United States, where he was recorded.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH: N/A

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

RECORDED BY: Paul Meier

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

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Uh, I was born in Ludwigshafen Germany, but was basically … spent the first seventeen years in, or around Waldorf, Germany, which is a small town, um, about ten miles south of Heidelberg, which is in the southwest corner kind of Germany. Uh, I first came to the U.S. in 91-92 as an exchange student; I stayed with a host family in Leawood, Kansas, and, ah, went to Rockhurst high school, ah I then returned to Germany for two years, again to Waldorf, um, to finish my high school. I then embarked on a study in an international business administration program. I spent the first two years in London, England, where I went to college, and also worked for six months; um, I then returned to Germany, various locations three months, in Frankfurt four months, in Royfien [sic] six months, in Cologne and another ten months in Royfien. So after these two years finishing my undergraduate program, again working part of the time I then came to the U.S. to pursue a doctorate program, uh, Ph.D. in business, and I’ve been here for about a year and a half in Lawrence, Kansas. Uh, my first exposure to English, uh, like most Germans, fifth grade, in high school, some where between three and five lessons a week and then I had it in a high school all the way through thirteenth grade and uh, in, at first a not very successful experience always kinda the “C” range, ah, because it requires one thing that I don’t like to do, and that’s study, learning by heart, and so my vocabulary was always a problem, but, ah, once I came to the U.S., spent a year in a family environment, and a high school environment, where you actually talk much more than if you come to the U.S. as a undergraduate or especially graduate students, ah, that’s been a really, mostly exposed to English on a much higher level and also learned, um, the cultural background, the cultural artifacts, the cultural references, um, that give me really the head start it’s not necessarily the language, it’s the cultural background knowledge. The one year of U.S. history, the one year of American History, ah, cause if you’re a foreign student and you like watching television around Christmas time and you don’t know what Charles Dicken’s “Christmas Carol,” half of the references are lost on you; that’s just plain fact. OK, um, in some sense from a grammar viewpoint, English is fairly easy to learn; there’s no genders, there’s no three different genders, ah, there’s a lot more, um, words that adhere to rules rather than German that only consists of exceptions. In terms of pronunciation, the German stumbling blocks tend to be the “th,” which is most German humorous accents are based on the lack of the “th.” Ah, the real problem for me is the old problem that the “v” and the “w,” because the English “v” pretty much corresponds to the German “w,” so the, um, cough drops “Vicks” in English is spelled V-I-C-K. In German, the same brand is spelled W-I-C-K. Um, yeah, everywhere that’s a particular just tough word, the “w,” and, ah, the “v” because the German “v” sounds a lot more like an “f” probably. “Rs” are difficult, but we say humorously: In Germany, if you want to sound American, just eat while you speak. Ah, this is probably the first rendition of the German National Anthem that I delivered since I had to learn it by heart in the fourth grade.
[Subject speaks German National Anthem.]
Um, the, at least the first, I don’t, I’m not too positive on the second stanza of the German National Anthem or, no longer the German National Anthem; their use is ah, very much discouraged; I don’t know if it falls under the law that prohibits use of fascist symbols, but certainly if would sing it you would be considered extremely right wing and would be associated with the Hitler regime.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Jeffrey Brown

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

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

If you are a dialect researcher, or an actor using this sample to develop your skill in the accent, please see my instruction manual at www.paulmeier.com. As the speaker in this sample is a unique individual, it is highly unlikely that he will conform to my analysis in every detail. But you will find it interesting and instructive to notice which of my “signature sounds” and “additional features” (always suggested only as commonly heard features of the accent) are widely used by most speakers of the accent, and which are subject to variation from individual to individual.

COMMENTARY BY: Paul Meier

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 10/11/2016

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