New York 21

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 61

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 09/11/1951

PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City (Brooklyn)

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Jewish -American/Caucasian

OCCUPATION: retired social worker

EDUCATION: two master’s degrees and a post-master’s degree

AREAS OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:

Speaker was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, New York. Currently she lives in Nassau County, Long Island. She has never lived outside the New York City metropolitan area except for vacations.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH: N/A

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

RECORDED BY: Amy Stoller

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 30/04/2013

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Brooklyn College actually had a very good broadcasting program; they had a very good studio. Um, and at the same time, I was already — uh, I had gotten a job in social work, uh, at a YMHA, and I was working there, and they — I was working there part time, um, and so I was going from my home in Queens, um, to the Y in Brooklyn, to um, going to Brooklyn College, and the, um, going around in circles. So, um, that’s how I ended up … with a master’s degree in broadcasting.

Among people in New York, I don’t think they necessarily identify me as being from Long Island, or [clears throat], um, I d—I don’t think it’s as obvious, um, w— when you hear people in the, on the n — on the n — when — that they interview on the news for example, and they always, and I always think, “Oh my god, they sound [laughs] so New York!” Um, I don’t think I quite sound like that. Uh, but, I uh, I think that I — at times, certain words, um, my kids make fun of the way I say [hesitates, laughs] S-O-D-A, for example [laughs]. Um, ’cause I will say, um, “Can you get the bottle of soder?” [laughs] addi—adding an R [laughs] without thinking about it.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Amy Stoller

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 10/07/2013

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

Speaker has been self-conscious about her New York/Long Island accent her entire adult life, and became even more so when embarking on a renewed course of interest in acting, following her retirement from clinical practice in social work. Her reading of “Comma Gets a Cure” is particularly slow and deliberate, reflecting her anxiety; and even the unscripted portion of the recording is fairly careful, hence her uncharacteristic use of the strong (stressed) form of to [tuː] when the weak (unstressed) form [tə] would ordinarily be used (in “Comma”), and also more rhoticity (in both “Comma” and the unscripted recording) than she generally employs in informal conversation. Among the notable features of the speaker’s accent are:

  1. 1. Diphthongal [ɔə] realization of words in THOUGHT: strong, warned, course, cost, office, broadcasting. Note also story [stɔe.ɹʷi].
  2. 2. CLOTH not fully merged with THOUGHT; some words have comparatively open vowel [ɒ]: dog, off.
  3. 3. Triphthongal realization of words in CHOICE [ɔəɪ̝].
  4. 4. VARIABLE RHOTICITY (R-Coloration):
    1. a. NORTH/FORCE sometimes merges with THOUGHT: normally.
    2. b. lettER (the unstressed syllable or function word, ranging from [ə] to [ʌ]: nearer, her (her first morning), mirror, letter, lower, remembered, for (for the beautiful bird); interview.
    3. c. Occasional lack of rhoticity in NEAR, SQUARE, CURE; millionaire lawyer [mɪɫiənɛəɫɔəɪʲɚ].
    4. d. NURSE vowel, when checked by a consonant, is rhotic but sometimes particularly tense and advanced; the closeness of the tongue position means that the tip of the tongue cannot be raised more than slightly: nurse [nɝ̝˖s].
    5. e. When unchecked by a consonant, the NURSE vowel may be non-rhotic ranging from [ə] to [ʌ].
    6. f. Intrusive r: soda [soʊdɚ] (“soder”).
    7. g. START appears to be uniformly rhotic.
  5. 5. Consonant r is labialized [ɹʷ].
  6. 6. PRE-R DISTINCTIONS. Speaker treats r between vowels as a consonant, leading to the following pre-r distinctions:
    1. a. merry-Mary-marry have three distinct vowels in first syllables: /ˈmɛ.ɹi, ˈmɛə.ɹi, ˈmæ.ɹi/: Sarah Perry [ˈseə.ɹʷʌ ˈpʰɛ.ɹʷi]; Mary Harrison [meə.ɹʷi hæ.ɹʷɪsən].
    2. b. hurry-furry have two distinct vowels in first syllables: /ˈhʌ.ɹi, ˈfɜ.ɹi/: washed her face in a hurry [ˈhʌ.ɹʷi].
    3. c. mirror-nearer have two distinct vowels in first syllables: /ˈmɪ.ɹɚ, ˈnɪə.ɹɚ/: That area was much nearer [ˈniə.ɹʌ]; checked herself in the mirror [ˈmɪə.rʷʌ].
    4. d. Florida, orange, horrible, forest, etc. have /ɑ/ in first syllables: ate a bowl of porridge [pɑ.ɹʷɪʤ].
  7. 7. GOOSE vowel very back, close, rounded [uː]; no fronting.
  8. 8. LOT and SPA may not be fully merged, but they are very similar—back to very back [ɑː, ɑ̠ː]: odd [ɑd], College [kʰɑ̠lɪdʒ], obvious [ˈɑ̠bviʌs]; sometimes there is an offglide: on [ɑən]. Note that ⟨l⟩ is treated as a silent letter in PALM (and would be in calm, balm, psalm, etc.).
  9. 9. Occasional raised vowel/diphthong in TRAP/BATH: compare happy [hæpi], relaxing bath [ɹɪˈlæksɪŋ bæ̝əθ], began [biˈɡæn] and [biˈɡæ̝ən]; unsanitary [ˈunˈsæniˌtɛɹi].
  10. 10. Raised initial vowel in SQUARE diphthong [eə]: Sarah [ˈseəɹʷʌ]; Mary [meə.ɹʷi].
  11. 11. Occasional backing of first element in PRICE diphthong: time [tʰɑɪm].
  12. 12. Triphthongal realization of words in MOUTH [æəu]: foot and mouth [fʊʔ ɛn mæəuθ].
  13. 13. Yew-hew merger; that is, reduction of /hj/ cluster to /j/: huge [ju:dʒ].
  14. 14. Frequent glottaling between vowels: veterinary [ˈvɛʔɪˌn̪ɛ. ɹi]; that area [ðæʔ ˈɛəɹiə]; that itchy [ðæʔ ʔɪʧi]; foot and mouth [fʊʔ ɛn mæəuθ]; certain [ˈsɝʔn̩].
  15. 15. Extra-vigorous muscularity on /w/; possibly also /j/.
  16. 16. t, d, n, l, s, frequently but not invariably dentalized: [t̪, d̪, n̪, l̪, s̪]: daily [ˈd̪eɪli]; Duke [d̪uːk]; veterinary [ˈvɛʔɪˌn̪ɛɹi]; Tower [t̪ʰæəuɚ]; singing [ˈs̪ɪŋɡɪŋ].
  17. 17. Dark L-vocalization not uncommon, especially following back vowels: almost [ˈɔmoʊst, ˈoʊmoʊst], already [ɔɫɹʷɛdi] but also [ɔˈɹʷɛdi, ʌˈɹʷɛdi]. Note that all is pronounced [ɔəɫ]; but as the unstressed part of a compound, the vowel may be centralized and lose its rounding [ə, ʌ] or become a diphthong with a significantly closer starting point [oʊ]. The realization of always as [oʊweɪz] is a New York City regional marker.
  18. 18. Retention of /t/ following /n/: sentimental [ˌsɛntɪˈmɛntəɫ], identify [aɪˈdɛntɪfaɪ].
  19. 19. NG-stopping (intrusive g, lack of /ŋɡ/ coalescence): ⟨ng⟩ is frequently realized as /ŋɡ/ in non-standard environments: singing [ˈs̪ɪŋɡɪŋ]; was going from [ˈɡoʊɪŋɡ]; Long Island [lɔəŋɡaɪlənd].
  20. 20. Other pronunciations of interest:
      1. a. because [biˈkɔəs].
      2. b. finally two syllables [ˈfaɪnli] (“finely”).
      3. c. can’t imagine [kæ̝̃ʔ ɪˈmæ̝əʤɪn].

FURTHER NOTES:

Speaker’s difficulty in articulating /s/ in GOOSE (bathe the goose [ɡuːθ] is an slip of the tongue caused by the preceding /ð/ in bathe the. It is not a feature of either New York accents or the speaker’s idiolect.

Although it is not strictly necessary to use the syllable division mark [.] preceding [ɹ] where /r/ is between vowels (for example, hurry /ˈhʌ.ɹi/), I have done so here as a visual reminder to speakers who lack pre-r distinction that the /r/ in question is not a vowel, but a consonant.

COMMENTARY BY: Amy Stoller

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 11/07/2013

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