Michigan 2

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 50

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1950

PLACE OF BIRTH: Port Huron

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Caucasian

OCCUPATION: actor

EDUCATION: N/A

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

He has lived in the suburbs of Detroit and that area for his entire life.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH: N/A

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

RECORDED BY: Cynthia Blaise

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 2000

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Today on my way here — here being a theatre in West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit — I stopped at a small hamburger shop in the city of Birmingham.  Now I have a particular jones for this kind of hamburger.  And it’s something that began when I was growing up in Port Huron, which is a, a small town that’s about sixty miles northeast of Detroit in what is called the thumb area of Michigan.  Uh, there are two hamburger places in town that had been there forever.  I mean long before I was born.  In fact, I think my mother had looked at one of them as a child.  They were called, um, Powers Hamburger.  That was — for some reason — apparently the name of the person who had begun them.  And they’re the typical white-tiled, very small hamburger diner with, uh, uh, counter seating for maybe a dozen people and maybe a couple seats along the glass and usually a pinball machine and, uh, and, uh, some kind of jukebox arrangement.  And they usually served breakfast and all manner of things.  But their specialty was always this little, tiny greasy hamburger that was mashed onto a hot grill.  It started as the shape of a ball and then the, uh, cook would take a spatula.  And, uh, first would pile, um, about three times the size of the hamburger a wad of very thinly sliced onions on top of this piece of meat and then jam in all into the grill with, uh, with a heavy spatula.  After they turned it over, they then placed the bun on top and then covered the whole thing so that the steam from the hamburger steam, and, and, uh, and the grilling onions steams and flavors the buns.  Uh, these things — when I was kid, I paid I think 15 cents apiece for these things, and at some places, as little as a dime.  This was in the late nineteen-fifties, early nineteen-sixties.  But, uh, there was something about the onions and the steam and the grease that just made this sort-of indescribably delectable little finger food.  Well, they’ve since become somewhat of a, uh — a, uh, chic, um, bit of, uh, high-class slumming.  And the city of Birmingham being quite affluent, they have this cheesy little grill, but it’s become quite the thing to, uh, to visit this place.  And, well, I used to pay a dime or fifteen cents for it.  Now it costs a dollar-thirty for a little grease-burger, as we used to call them, with grilled onions, a couple slices of pickle, catsup and mustard wrapped in a piece of wax paper.  That’s — that’s the, uh — that’s the key to keeping the — that steamed flavor in, by the way, is this paper wrapping that they put around it.

TRANSCRIBED BY: John Wright

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 11/08/2008

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

Subject speaks with a mild Michigan dialect. Listen for the slightly dark “r” in “arch” and “apparently.” The “honest” vowel in, “pot, beyond, stopped, shop,” and “top” demonstrate the slight lateral opening on what is frequently regarded as a back vowel. This change is a distinctive Michigan trait although often much more extreme. Another pronunciation that is characteristic of Michigan speakers is the flat and back of the mouth placement of the “a” in “cat.” This candidate provides us with a mild example in “began spatula, wrapping, mashed,” and “wrapping.”

COMMENTARY BY: Cynthia Blaise

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 2000

The archive provides:

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