Taiwan 2

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 24

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1984

PLACE OF BIRTH: Zhongli, Taiwan

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Taiwanese (exact ethnicity unknown)

OCCUPATION: model/actress

EDUCATION: high school and acting training

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

At the time of recording, she was living in New York City. Speaker was born and raised in Zhongli, Taiwan, and moved to New York City almost two years before this recording was made.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

She completed high school in Taiwan, and received further education at a program at an acting academy in New York City. While living in New York City, she gave private lessons in Mandarin Chinese. Her first languages were Mandarin and Taiwanese. She also speaks some Japanese. She began learning English officially at age 8 and studied on and off since then. Her English teachers were Vietnamese, American and Taiwanese. Pronunciation was taught using the KK system. (KK stands for Kenyon and Knott. The KK system is widely used in China and Taiwan for English training.) Since arriving in New York, she received Edith Skinner-based speech training at her acting academy, before receiving training in non-regional American speech.

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

RECORDED BY: N/A

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 12/06/2008

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Yes, I love reading. More in Chinese, more in Chinese, but, um, in English it depends on what subject. Because sometimes, uh, if it’s literature, the words they use, is a little bit hard for me, because they don’t use [laughing] normal words, if you’ll allow me to say that! Um, yes, but, uh, basically, um … the normal English book is OK. I—I—I—I can enjoy that now. I mean like, uh, I just read “Eat, Pray, Love.” Do you know the book? [sotto voce] OK, it’s a really, really good book, OK. [laughs] I just … mm-hm! Yes.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Amy Stoller

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 28/07/2008

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

Frequent use of high rising intonation in closed statements (High Rising Terminal (HRT), aka up-speak, up-talk, or, in the USA, valley-talk, Valspeak), so that many of her declarative sentences sound like questions. This occurs when she is not sure she is expressing herself clearly, or correctly in English. The pattern is probably reinforced by speech she has heard in the US, either in acquaintances or on television.

Frequent substitution of unvoiced consonants for voiced ones: hereʼs [hɪɚs], was [wʌs], gave [geɪf]; disease [dɪˈsiːs], made [meɪt], words [wɝts], hard [hɑɚt], is [ɪs].

Simplification of consonant clusters: practice [ˈprætɪs], efforts [ˈɛfɚt], treatment [ˈtriːtmәn], it’s [ɪs], just [d͡ʒʌs].

Deletion of final consonants, sometimes with slight nasalization of vowel: when [whɛ̃]; and [æ̃]; it would [ɪ wʊd]; implied [ɪmˈplaɪ], might [maɪ], it was [ɪ wʌz].

Rhoticity variable: mirror [ˈmɪrә]. (Not heard on recording: Occasional insertion of rhoticity where uncalled for: author [ˈɔɚθɚ].)

One substitution of [ʃ] for [t͡ʃ]: which becomes wish [wɪʃ].

Vowel tensing (raising) in -ing: morning [ˈmɔɚniŋ], rather than [ˈmɔɚnɪŋ].

Confusion between nasals [n] and [ŋ] (and, more rarely, [m]): can [keŋ], began [biˈgeŋ], confirmed “comfirmed”; also a tendency to continue [ŋ] longer than most native speakers do, especially relative to vowel duration.

Not surprisingly, speaker is more at home in unscripted speech than when reading aloud. Although her English comprehension is fairly good, negotiating the vagaries of English spelling aloud was a challenge. Some of the words she stumbled on in “Comma Gets a Cure,” such as veterinary and ether, were unknown to her. Others would have provided less difficulty for her in conversation; she had heard them, but not encountered them in writing before. Still other inaccuracies, such as reading kept as keep, unsanitary as unnecessary, are probably attributable to haste.

Speaker frequently uses American English fillers (um, uh, mm-hm, okay, yes) and discourse markers (like, basically) in unscripted speech. She also uses fillers when reading text—and, although you cannot hear it in this recording, in conversation, after nearly every utterance by her conversation partner. Such frequent “feedback” is disconcerting for Westerners, but for the speaker it fulfills a cultural purpose. In Taiwan, conversational fillers are used (though not by everyone) as a courtesy, to indicate that the listener is paying attention and understanding; not to use them might be considered rude. (This phenomenon is a signal cultural attribute in Japan, where it is called Aizuchi; speaker may have developed the tendency because Japanese popular culture was very influential in Taiwan.)

COMMENTARY BY: Amy Stoller

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 28/07/2008

The archive provides:

  • Recordings of accent/dialect speakers from the region you select.
  • Text of the speakers’ biographical details.
  • Scholarly commentary and analysis in some cases.
  • In most cases, an orthographic transcription of the speakers’ unscripted speech.  In a small number of cases, you will also find a narrow phonetic transcription of the sample (see Phonetic Transcriptions for a complete list).  The recordings average four minutes in length and feature both the reading of one of two standard passages, and some unscripted speech. The two passages are Comma Gets a Cure (currently our standard passage) and The Rainbow Passage (used in our earliest recordings).

 

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