North Carolina 9

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 74

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 24/08/1926

PLACE OF BIRTH: Oak City, North Carolina

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Caucasian

OCCUPATION: retired journalist

EDUCATION: college journalism degree

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

Subject was born in Oak City, in the eastern part of the state, and was raised in a rural area near there. He went to Atlantic Christian College in North Carolina for two years, served in the Army for two more, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has never lived outside the state but has resided in several cities in the western part of the state.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

Subject grew up on a farm. His mother graduated from high school, but his father had just a few years of formal schooling. However, among middle-class families of his time and place, there was a thirst for education. Religion reinforced this aspiration. Reading was expected and encouraged. There was a value put on learning for its own sake, and not just to get a bigger income. From a very young age, he wanted to be a newspaper writer.

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): 08/2000

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

I was a boy of about 11 livin’ in eastern North Carolina on a tobacco farm. My mother an’ father — my mother an’ father, uh, were parents of six children. It was the Depression years, but we didn’t know that. It was Christmas time. If ever there was a person who knew how to keep Christmas, it was my mother. She became so excited when the holiday drew near. When I lay in bed at night, I could hear b- … in the room below me the sewing machine running, an’ I knew she was sewin’ doll dresses an’ other gifts for the children. That year I was bringing in stove wood in the cold evenin’s an’ sayin’ over in my mind the poem I was goin’ to recite at the church Sunday school party: “Why do bells at Christmas ring / Why do little children sing.” I wanted to say it in a strong, clear voice, an’ I knew that mother would be proud of me. That evenin’ I lay in front of the fire an’ looked at the mail-order catalogue. It was full of very interestin’ things. I looked at them with curiosity, but not with any expectation of receivin’ any of the toys. Those were the kind of toys children who lived in town received. On the cover of the catalogue, there was a ceramic reindeer, one little gold-painted hoof raised. That was what I wanted to get Mother for Christmas. She did not have anything just pretty to enjoy. She had useful things. …

TRANSCRIBED BY: Sandra Lindberg

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 06/05/2008

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

He does not believe his dialect has changed from exposure to others. However, I do notice one inconsistency that may have been influenced by living “out West” (the western part of North Carolina), and that is his inconsistent pronunciation of the “r.” In the phrase “deserted square,” the “r” is pronounced in the first word and eliminated in the second. It is also eliminated in “father” and “mother,” as it is in most, but not all words. It is consistently eliminated as a final consonant. Another inconsistency may be found in “ing” endings. Usually he contracts them to “in’,” as in waitin’,” “surprisin'” and “sewin’,” but in “running” and an occasional other word, the full “ing” is pronounced. Please note that the first story, about the Christmas present, has a rather formal cadence and is a story I have heard him tell before. In order to get a more natural speech, I asked him to tell me a second, about his going off on an adventure. His most conversational tone is found in his brief introduction about himself. Like many Southern speakers, the diphthong in “time,” “mind,” “cry” and “tire” loses it second element. Final “y” (“very,” “ability,” “freely”) ends in a short high vowel. The “i” in “sing” and “thing” and “ring” approximates the AE sound of “cat.” The first element of the diphthong in “town” uses a higher front vowel, although “our” uses the lower vowel. “Clear,” hear” and “year” all use the diphthong, not a single vowel. Note the pronunciation of the first element of the diphthong in “Toy” and “enjoy.” Words using this sound may become two syllables. Individual words with distinctive pronunciations are “help” with the “l” eliminated (“hep”); “tobacco” ends with a schwa; “hoof’ is OO; and “fairy” is pronounced using the A in “cat.”

COMMENTARY BY: Pat Toole

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 08/2000

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