Germany 8

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 71

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1934

PLACE OF BIRTH: Memel (Kleipeda), Lithuania

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Caucasian (German)

OCCUPATION: physician

EDUCATION: Subject attended university and presumably received a medical degree.

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

He was raised in Frankfurt, Germany, after the age of 10.  From ages 19 to 34, he lived in various German cities, and then moved to Minneapolis, United States, in 1968.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

Subject was born in Lithuania to German parents. The influence of Lithuania would be slight, as his parents fled the Russian advance in World War II when he was only 10.

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

RECORDED BY: Joseph Papke

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 20/01/2006

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

So I was born in, in, Memel, which at that time was Lithuania. So for the first ten years I lived Memel; both of my parents were German, but my father’s ancestor’s came from Russia, and I was born in ’34; that time this town Memel was not even known as Memel; it was known as Klaipėda, and it is again now if you look it up on a map, it’s, it’s again Klaipėda, which is not that uncommon for European border towns to change to and fro. And then ’39 it, uh, had the same or similar fate as Austria was annex by the Germans, so Austria in ’38 and the, part where I was born Memel was annexed in ’39. And I have seen Hitler, because uh, when, when the Germans came, there was a big parade in town, and I would say people were, were happy to become … part of Germany, and it was a peaceful annexation, I think, not a single shot was fired. Uh, but it became then German and stayed German ’til ’45, but we fled from the Russians in ’44 as the Russians advance westward towards the end of the war. Um, my mother and us children [unclear] Germans fled summer of ’44, and arrived in what later became West Germany, and so I grew up in, in the Frankfurt area from February ’45 ’til ’53 when I started to study medicine. I had accepted a position in Berlin to start on September the 1st, 1961, which was, uh, two weeks after the wall was built, uh, August 12, 1961. So my father who, like me, was a physician, said, “In that [unclear] you cannot go to Berlin it is a mousetrap, and once the Russians take over you will not get out ever.” So listening to my father, I said, “Well, where should I go?” and he said, “Well, I have a friend in Mainz.” So from ’61 to ’68, I was in Mainz; that was the place where I got married to the same wife I still have, had two children born over there then we came to this country in ’68 because I had an offer to join a well-known professor here in town. What happens now-a-days in Germany,  and it is for linguist like you, or voice coaches it’s a sad affair, that subtleties, um, in the areas of Germany where dialect is still spoken disappear, and it disappear because of television. Television is almost exclusively high German, and so even if you go to Munich and you turn on radio or TV to, um, get the news or get a play or a comedy session it is all in high German, and that type of German goes back to Martin Luther [pronounced with the classic German “t” or “d” substitution for “th”], not Martin Luther [English pronunciation] but Martin Luther [German pronunciation], because the Germans don’t have the diphthong for Luther; you can say Martin Luther King — that’s all right — but you cannot call the reformer of the, of the church Martin Luther, it was Martin Luther [German pronunciation], please. [Subject then speaks German]: Liebe auf den ersten Blick ist eine leicht verständliche Sache. Von einem Wunder kann man erst nach vielen Jahren gegenseitigen Anblickens sprechen. The actual translation is: Love at first sight, it is easily understood, but you can only talk of a miracle after many years of looking at each other.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Faith Harvey

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 17/03/2008

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

The subject presents a standard accent from the middle of Germany, that is to say it shows little specific Bavarian (southern) or Prussian (northern) influence. It has also been softened by living in the United States for 38 years.

Words to listen for in “Comma Gets a Cure” include:
diagnostic –– very open vowel
passage –– tenser, shorter vowel, [æ] towards [ɛ]
nurse –– rounded vowel [ɞ]
working –– rounded vowel [ɞ]

happy –– tenser, shorter vowel, [æ] towards [ɛ]
job –– [dʒ] leans towards the voiceless [t͡ʃ], final consonant becomes voiceless
superb –– final consonant becomes voiceless
porridge –– [dʒ] leans towards the voiceless [t͡ʃ]
dress –– elongation of final voiceless consonant
jacket –– [dʒ] leans towards the voiceless [t͡ʃ]
work –– rounded vowel [ɞ]
there –– [ð] to [d], very lax R
implied –– elongated diphthong, final consonant becomes voiceless
surprising –– elongated diphthong,
huge –– becomes [ju]
first –– rounded vowel [ɞ]
her –– rounded vowel [ɞ]
Sarah was able –– final consonant becomes voiceless
wiped –– strongly aspirated P, final consonant becomes voiceless
diagnosis –– elongated vowel
required –– lax v/w combination
five –– final consonant becomes voiceless
imagine –– tenser, shorter vowel, [æ] towards [ɛ]
millionaire –– dark L, very lax R
was –– lax v/w combination, final consonant becomes voiceless
fair –– very lax R

The German proverb he reads:
Liebe auf den ersten Blick ist eine leicht verständliche Sache. Von einem Wunder kann man erst nach vielen Jahren gegenseitigen Anblickens sprechen

COMMENTARY BY: Joseph Papke, Unicode trans. Dylan Paul

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 20/01/2006

The archive provides:

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  • 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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