Maine 1

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AGE: 86


PLACE OF BIRTH: Willimantic, Connecticut

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Caucasian

OCCUPATION: police officer, state trooper, security, farmer



He moved, at age 3, to Moody in York County, Maine, by way of Ellsworth, Maine.  He worked at the Canadian border for five years.


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

RECORDED BY: Paul De Decker






… for 40 years, so, I was a policeman, in Norway police work for a lotta years. Well, I was a state trooper, yeah, for 20 years, and then I was in security work, for Pratt ’n’ Whitney Aircraft. They get a — their aircraft plant up here, so we, uh … I worked for them. Then I retired from there. Well, that we’re just — I, uh, a — at Pratt, we — we just checked people, you know, or badges an’ checked for, you know, routine security work, going for fires an’, you know, that type o’ stuff. But, uh, production plant safety, too, first aid. That was– that was part of the job. Ah, I liked it all; it was just, you know, routine. Like regular patrol on the, on the state highway, and like the, the turnpike, I worked for [unclear] for a while. I worked in northern Maine for five years when I — when I first was on there. I w-worked on the Canadian border. We worked with the Mounties up there. Yeah, great guys, incidentally. I was up in — New Brunswick was, was. … They were on the other side of the river. Last week I was up in Buffalo. My son lives up there. Yuh, had a great time out there. I went to visit my son and his, and his family. Yeah, they had — they had, uh, uh, foo-football games on. In fact, my son went to the football game, and my wife and I stayed home with, with his kids so he and his wife could go to the football game. He’s a big Bills fan, so now I have to keep track of the Boston Bruins and the, an’ the Red Sox an’ the Buffalo Bills and the, an’ the, an, an’ the [unclear] Buffalo Sabres. I have to keep track of all o’ the teams now. Well, that’s all I got to do, so. I was stationed in the service out there so I know California pretty well. Yeah, a couple o’ years. Well, I w– I was in the Navy then, so, you know, us– usual things that sailors do. We just, you know, do the towns, clubs, like, you know, like that. So I,I liked it out there. It’s, it’s a little inl– it’s a little cooler. An– and especially in the winter times. It isn’t too much different than around here really. You didn– you-you’d go down to Long Beach in San Diego. Of course it’s, it’s nice down there. I was stationed down there for a while, ’bout a year in Long Beach. I went to, uh, I went out in the Pacific. It was right between the two wars, an’ I, I went to China an’ Japan, an’, you know, like that. I, I was on a repair ship in the Navy, so we went to a lotta islan’s, Guam an’ [unclear], to places like that. I was in the Navy four years. …

TRANSCRIBED BY: Jacqueline Baker






His Regionality Index (Chambers 2000) of 1 (highest score possible) indicates on the basis of his subjective answers to a series of questions that, on the whole, he is an excellent representative of working-class rural Downeast Maine. The listener may notice, especially, regarding prosody, that there are Loud, abrupt punches on stressed syllables and a reduction of syllables (veterinary, normally). Regarding consonants, please note the following: There is a varied realization of the letter “r” after a vowel; the letter “r” at the end of a syllable is silent or pronounced like the neutral vowel schwa (e.g., north, force, and tower); after a close or mid-close vowel, the schwa is especially noticeable (e.g., near and square). However, /r/ is pronounced when the letter “r” begins a syllable. There is one example of ‘r intrusion’ in the interview (Chinar and Japan). Also regarding consonants, you will notice that usually “w” and “wh” are distinct for this speaker, but, at times, he pronounces “w” as though it were a voiceless “wh” (e.g., was). In the final consonant clusters in “district” and “different idea,” the final /t/ is not heard. This is also the case for many word-final /d/s. When heard, /t/s and /d/s are flapped, as in words like “beautiful,” (and even the first “t” in “sentimental”). A stressless second syllable contributes to the pronunciation of futile as [‘fju.Dl]. Also note the “Liquid u”: While yod (the “y” sound between the initial consonant and vowel) is present in “futile,” as it is in “huge” and “cure,” it is absent after tongue-tip consonants (t, d, n, s, l: e.g., Duke, new, tune). There is active use of the tongue-tip in some -ing endings (paying) and dental “th” (there; stuff like that). Regarding vowels, the speaker produces several vowels that are not often heard in American accents, or that are often distributed differently in lexical sets. Especially noticeable is the fact that the vowel in the NURSE lexical set words is very rounded and fairly close and fairly front (nurse, superb, work, first, confirmed). The “r” we see in print tends not to be pronounced as a consonant in any of these words. START has no /r/ sound and a rather long, front open vowel without lip rounding. This is the famed “Park your car in Harvard Yard” lexical set, and immediately places this speaker, as do the PALM words, which are similarly fronted. Note the vowels in “porridge” and “sorry” are pronounced “ah.” NORTH/FORCE: NORTH is more open (north, warn, form, normally.) The “r” we see in print tends not to be pronounced in any of these words. GOOSE and CURE: A very back and rounded monophthongal vowel is present. Open front vowels are complex. A split of the historical lexical set TRAP has given some words (e.g., managed, back) a mid-open front vowel that rhymes with the vowel in DRESS words, rather than an opener vowel as in “trap” and “happy.” For this speaker, the BATH words are long or diphthongal and also rhyme with the vowel in DRESS. In this respect, the speaker’s accent conflicts with the Hollywood stereotype of a Downeast accent. Before “r,” the open front vowels are equally complex. SQUARE words and TRAP words before the spelling “r” are inconsistent. Sometimes the vowel is mid-open front as in DRESS (square, Mary, rare) with more or less of a schwa offglide, but sometimes the vowel is more open (Sarah, unsanitary,Harrison). The present passage is too short to allow a full analysis of the mergers and splits in these vowel categories. There is a low, back vowel in the LOT, THOUGHT and CLOTH lexical sets, but, in the present sample, variable in lip-rounding, even from instance to instance of the same word. “Odd,” “job,” “dog” and “long” have lip rounding and a longer vowel; “off,” “cloth” and “lot,” “got” and “thought” are produced with without lip rounding. The mouth is very open during the vowel of stressed STRUT words (e.g., much). “Hurry” rhymes with NURSE, not STRUT, for this speaker, opposite the pattern found in prescriptive American stage speech, Southern-British-based accents or traditional New York City speech, for example. happY is said with a very close final vowel. PRICE: As in “Canadian raising,” the vowel is higher before a voiceless consonant (right) than a voiced one (surprising, side, five, times). We cannot say much more about this pattern based on the present sample. A parallel pattern may also pertain to the MOUTH lexical set. Lastly, the speaker’s pronunciation of the name “Comma” is best regarded as a speech error. (The editors acknowledge having received support from NIH Grant DC-03782 to Haskins Laboratories during the preparation of the present comments.)



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