India 14

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 23

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 21/09/1993

PLACE OF BIRTH: Kerala, India

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Indian

OCCUPATION: student

EDUCATION: B.A. in English Language and Literature

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

At the time of this recording, the subject was living in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. She also lived in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, for more than two years.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

Subject has never been outside India but has studied phonetics and expressed a desire to speak with a Received Pronunciation (RP) or Standard British English sound.

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

RECORDED BY: Asha Elizabeth Pramod (subject)

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 12/08/2017

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

OK! I’m from India. Um, never been out of my country. I haven’t even really traveled much either. Not that I don’t want to travel. I do; of course I do. Um, but I, I have autism, and it comes with OCD and, uh, seizures and severe UV sensitivity, mmm, so much so that I actually have to stay indoors all day and even block out, uh, the sun by keeping my windows shut! Um, I, I gather that it has something to do with my genes. Um, [chuckles] I really don’t know wha- what else to say! Uh, I am not really the chatty type of a person. Um, you, you see [stutters a bit], I, I don’t talk much at all, and then when I do, I don’t stop! It’s funny, uh, but that just about sums me up. Um, I’m a loner and, uh, and I revel in my introversion. Um, but, but I love using my voice, and, uh, I have a real passion for English vocabulary and accents, and I own and collect dictionaries. And I [chuckles], I’m a proud owner of, uh, the OED [Oxford English Dictionary], the 20-volume, uh, OED, uh considered the authority of English Language, the final authority, you could say. Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. Thank you!

TRANSCRIBED BY: Asha Elizabeth Pramod (subject)

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION: 12/08/2017

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

As a part of doing my B.A. in English, I was required to study phonetics. That meant I was exposed to the IPA early on, and this really helped me while trying to acquire an RP accent, as it meant I could look up and confirm the pronunciation of words that I came across while listening to, say, the BBC, or while watching British and Hollywood movies. That also constitutes my sole exposure to native-speaker-like English, as I have never been out of my country and never had an accent coach. (Not to be judgmental, but my phonetics teacher admitted himself that his own accent was an amalgamation of an accent of English that could be put under that rather vague label of General Indian English or G.I.E.) I have at times had to speak with native speakers, live, online, like for example, IDEA Founder and Director Paul Meier, but that was minimal and rare at best. All of this means that I have what has been described as upper GIE with distinct flavors of RP, or, as someone else said, my English stands out as very different from anyone they have heard, and many others have commented on my accent, which sounded good to their ears.

I have always dreamed of and strived for acquiring an RP accent, especially what might be dubbed the more conservative RP. Sole exposure to native-speaker-like English has been audio and video materials and live TV and radio from the UK, with absolutely no interaction or give and take.

Very often, the various varieties of academic English here are loosely categorized as G.I.E., and you can hear samples of this on All India Radio’s shortwave broadcasts, especially their news bulletins. But in addition to that, you have a staggering variety of regional accents that are heavily influenced by the hundreds of languages from India. To take two extreme examples, someone from the North might look down upon if not jeer at the English dialect of someone from Kerala who speaks Malayalam as their mother tongue, and vice versa. But what actually constitutes G.I.E. can be a very contentious subject. For example, Bollywood actresses might try and make their vowels more pronounced in an attempt to sound exotic and more educated, and in the process make their consonants less stressed. An example of this is trying to put too much of a stress on the /ʌ/ as seen in “pick up,” which may be transcribed as /pik ˈʌp/, or try and make their English more rhotic and stretch out the shorter vowels as in “really,” pronounced here as /rɪɑ:lɪ/, with equal stress on all syllables. Also, Indian languages, most of which have the Devanagari script, have syllabic stress, and so stress or accent is almost totally absent in Indian regional accents or minimally present in G.I.E.

COMMENTARY BY: Asha Elizabeth Pramod (subject)

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 12/08/2017

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).

For instructional materials or coaching in the accents and dialects represented here, please go to Other Dialect Services.