Listen to Arkansas 25, a 35-year-old man from Fort Smith, Arkansas, United States. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.
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DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 03/12/1984
PLACE OF BIRTH: Fort Smith, Arkansas
EDUCATION: BA in political science, University of Arkansas
AREAS OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:
The subject has always lived in Arkansas. (Raised in Fort Smith, he also spent 15 years in Fayetteville.)
OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH: N/A
The text used in our recordings of scripted speech can be found by clicking here.
RECORDED BY: Ben Corbett
DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 24/01/2020
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:
Yeah, so, my mom and dad left Vietnam via boat, uh, in 1976, um, as part of the, the post-war, uh, migration out of, uh, the communist, uh, Vietnam, and they ended up in Malaysia at a refugee camp for two years, um, where my sister was born. And after two years, uh, at the refugee camp, they were sponsored to come to the United States, uh, where they flew into San Francisco, and they spent, um, partially six months there, uh, before being transferred to Fort Smith, uh, where Fort Chaffee is located. Uh, and from there, they met up with my mom’s brother, who had already come over here. Um, their sponsor actually lived in Florida. And so, from Fort Chaffee, my parents and my sister moved to, uh, West Palm Beach, Florida, for three years. And then they moved back to Fort Smith ‘cause that’s where my uncle still was. Uh, and that’s when they had me, so I was born in Fort Smith, uh, and lived there my whole life.
I have an older sister that was born in Malaysia. Uh, I have a younger brother, and he is ten years younger than me. So, uh, he’s considerably younger. But growing up in Fort Smith, um, as you know, first-generation immigrant, was, uh — you know, when you’re young, you don’t really realize anything different; you know, it’s just how you grow up; but, uh, you know, the older you get, the more you learn and recognize things. It, uh, it was, it was a challenge because my parents — Fort Smith is divided into, uh, the north side of town and the south side of town. So the north side of town is predominantly minority, um, lower income, um, and then the south side’s predominantly, uh, Caucasian and, you know, and higher income. So, my dad, you know, the, the, the immigrant population was almost all exclusively on the north side of town. Uh, but my dad moved us to the to the south side of town ‘cause that’s where the better schools were. And, uh, there wasn’t as much of a, uh — I don’t know how you would say it. I, I guess in the 90s, there was kind of like gang activity, um, especially amongst, um, you know, the Asian population that had just come over here. And so, he ru- he tried to remove us from that, uh, and into better schools. And so my sister and I weren’t surrounded by, uh, you know, people that looked like us and, and could relate to, uh, aside from just seeing our cousins and stuff on the weekends. Uh, so that, uh, that in itself presented, um, quite a few challenges, uh, as well as opportunities.
Uh, eh, you know, growing up through it, it was, it was challenging. But looking back on it, uh, you know it was definitely the best thing, uh, for me, uh, to have been in those situations, and, uh, eh, and now even looking back on it, I, I wish that more families had made that decision as well, uh, because I feel like, you know, in a sense that I, I was — whether I wanted to be or not — I was more or less an ambassador for my culture to these people that would have not otherwise, uh, known anything about us, uh, on a personal level; uh, and, and so looking back on it, it was, it was, it was a very good situation, uh, for, for me to represent, you know, our culture and, uh, and make these personal connections with people that otherwise would not have any, any type of interaction or connection to, uh, anything other than their kinda homogeneous, um, lifestyle. So it, it was, it was really cool; uh, it was challenging, but, uh, in the end I wouldn’t have changed it for, for anything, you know, uh.
So that, that’s a little bit about, uh, kinda about how my family got here, and, and, you know, kinda how it was growing up in Fort Smith, kind of, uh, a little bit of an outsider that, uh, got put into a situation where he had to, uh, you know, find his place and, and call it home.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Ben Corbett
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 27/01/2020
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
The subject has a light Arkansas accent and serves as an example of male vocal fry. The subject’s /r/ is lengthened (cure, square, higher). The archetypal Southern vowel change of /ɛ/ (DRESS) to /ɪ/ (KIT) occurs (then, when, generation). The word “for” becomes “fer” when it is unstressed. The /u/ (GOOSE) vowel is preceded by a schwa /ə/ (COMMA), and the consonant that precedes that schwa receives extra stress (duke, goose, huge, tune, two, flew, to).
The monophthongization of /aɪ/ (PRICE) occurs before both voice and voiceless consonants (realize, time, implied, finally, my, tire, otherwise, five, side, wiped, united, tire). Ending /t/ and /d/ receives particular stress (left, boat, and). The slight raising of the tongue for the diphthong /oʊ/ (GOAT) can sometimes suggest /aʊ/ (MOUTH) (though, don’t). The ending /g/ drops in the word “calling.” The /æ/ (TRAP) vowel changes to /ɪ/ (KIT) in the word “managed.”
COMMENTARY BY: Ben Corbett
DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 27/01/2020
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