North Carolina 17

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 70

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1930

PLACE OF BIRTH: Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Caucasian

OCCUPATION: housewife

EDUCATION: college

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

Subject moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for college and was still living there at the time of this interview.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

Her mother was an artist and her father a lawyer. The subject is married to a physician.

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

RECORDED BY: Pat Toole

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 11/2000

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Uh, this is a story that must have happened about 1942 — I know it was, it was in the early years of World War II.  And I was uh, a child living in my home in Shelby where we always had cats.  We loved cats in our family.  So I decided to write a poem; I love to write little rhymes. An’ I wrote a poem that — my name is Kitty — so I wrote a poem whose — which, the name of which was, “Kitty’s Cat,” and it went like this, very short: “I have a cat I love, though he’s very fat and lazy/ Sometimes he meows so loud, I think I will go crazy/ I  spoiled him and I pet so he will not catch a mouse/ Then he walks about and purrs, as if he owns the house/ I call him oochum goochum, I call him rusty wusty/ I call him honey sweetheart, but his real name is just Dusty.”  I sent that poem off to a children’s magazine called “Wee Wisdom” and they printed it.  We were all thrilled.  My mother, of course, wrote her sister immediately, Aunt Flossie, who was the family matriarch.  At the time — oh I was her niece — she had a nephew seven years older than I or maybe ten years older than I, who was flying the hop in Burma, uh, taking supplies I guess to the Chinese.  Uh, she tried to write him about every other day, so just to keep him up on the family news.  It happened that during this time, he was shot down over the jungle.  He bailed out of his plane, but he, but he was just lost and everyone thought he was dead.  Uh, because he was in the jungle for a long time.  I mean, not a terribly long time, but about a week or two.  As it turned out, he was taken in by friendly natives, who showed him the way back to his base, but of course they didn’t know that.  When he got back to the base, uh, where his friends, the parachute um packers I think it wa- were — who were from South Philadelphia — had gathered up his personal possessions.  What had they found in his personal possessions but the copy of “Kitty’s Cat.”  And he said, that when he, um, when he walked into the camp, instead of being greeted with, um, cries of joy and relief, he was greeted by recitations of “Kitty’s Cat” in a South Philadelphia brogue, which [laughs], which they never let him [laughs] forget and which he never forgot either.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Katie Whalley and Sandra Lindberg

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:

Following college graduation in Winston-Salem, subject never lived at home again but returned there frequently for family gatherings until her last relative’s death some ten years ago. Both her hometown of Shelby and her adopted city of Winston-Salem are in western North Carolina and 100 miles apart, but the latter is more urban (pop. 160,000). Neither she nor her husband believes her dialect has changed much over the years, and despite her many years in more urban Winston-Salem, she does not speak like other Winston-Salem people of her generation and socio-economic class. She continues to be a particularly active member of the community. She uses somewhat retracted “r’s” and occasionally drops consonants (“sentimental” becomes senimenal” and “printed” loses its “t”). A “d” may be substituted for the “t” in words like “little” and “futile.” “-ing” is inconsistently contracted to “-in’.” The diphthong in words like “time,” “child,” etc., drops its second element, becoming a single vowel. Occasionally she uses the diphthong. “Comma” is pronounced with the same neutral vowel. Many vowels and diphthongs are extended through inflection and/or the addition of the schwa, as in “two,” “this,” “friends,” and “made.” “Fair” and “there” become two-syllable words. Note the rounded and elongated vowel used in “long,” “lost” and “thought,” “Can’t” becomes “cain’t.” Note the pronunciations of “lawyer” and “spoil.” “Mouse” and “tower” use slightly different diphthongs.

COMMENTARY BY: Pat Toole

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 11/2000

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