Italy 7

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 60s

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1930s

PLACE OF BIRTH: Porto Empedocle, Agrigento, Sicily

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Italian/white

OCCUPATION: businessman

EDUCATION: college education

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

Subject has traveled all over the world, especially Northern Europe during his time in the Navy. In 1963, he moved to New York with his family.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

Subject learned English grammar in school in Italy, in the Italian Navy and in the United States. Although he has been in the United States for more than thirty years, his English remains heavily accented.

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

RECORDED BY: Daydrie Hague

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/28/2001

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Well, I [was] born in Sicily, and my hometown is called Porto Empedocle. The big city, the province is Agrigento; it’s a historical city, occupied by Romans, Greeks. My hometown is a fish[ing] town and we, all my parents, my grandparents are from this same town. Uh, my father was an engineer in the merchant marines and my mother, you know, was help in the school and we got a good education. When I was in high school, so we have three choice[s]. The first choice was Latin, the second language French, and then English. And we have to learn the grammar in all of the French and the English. Latin: We just learn in the school and the church. I finish my equal [what would be equal to] of the second year of college in this country at the state school in Agrigento. Because the family we come from, my parents do not like us to to walk in the streets and play with the other kids, so she [his mother] don’t like the idea to learn bad words and fight with the kids. And we, everyone in my family, they learn a trade. And then I went to the Navy and I was 19 years old, and I traveled all over the world, especially North Europe. And I was a sergeant in the Navy and I had a good time. And as I say, I learn English in the school, and it was just the grammar, but when we are in the Navy, we have one hour every week, an officer was teaching us to speak English because most of the time in the Navy, we travel and go to English-speaking countries. I came in this country in 1963; we was legitimate with visas from the United States, and the first thing we did, everyone in my family, we went to school at night. During the day we went to work, and at night we went to work to learn English. Now, I was … everybody was making fun of me when I was, uh, speak English because I learn the real English from Italy with the grammar and everything, but they embarrass me; some American people, they say, “Oh, you talk with the accent; this no English, you gotta talk like I talk!” That was the Brooklyn accent. So I was feeling embarrassed and I stopped speaking English because most of the American people I was dealing with and they were making fun of foreigners, but it was the foreigners … we are the people who go to work and want to make a life! Myself and all my family, we did a lot of things to improve ourselves and we never, not since 1963 up to today, we are six children and no one, no one ever collect an unemployment check. We have a job since the day one. We feel embarrassed we going in line to collect any money from anyone. I wanna give this country what the country give to me. And I want to give something back and I believe I have an obligation, so I believe anyone who lives in America, they should give something back and don’t take it for granted because it is the country of opportunity. Thank you very much to let me talk. And God bless you.

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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:

Although he has been in the United States for over thirty years, the subject’s English remains heavily accented. His family came to New York on visas offered to them by the U.S. government as restitution for the destruction of their family home and property by Americans in World War ll. The subject discusses his education, the various ways he came to study English, and his belief in the strong work ethic instilled in him by his family. The subject is a successful businessman, active in politics and community affairs in New York City. His speech is characterized by light [r] coloration in the terminal position (heh for her) and a tapped [r] sound in the medial position (as in Amedica for America). Often you hear [h] dropped in the initial position of the word (appy for happy). Present also is the intrusive schwa sound so characteristic of Italian speech and the substitution of a long [e] for a short [i] (as in deena for dinner). Vowels tend to be open and pure with little use of diphthong. The subject uses very dynamic stress patterns with rising pitches for emphasis.

COMMENTARY BY: Daydrie Hague

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/28/2001

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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