Arkansas 30

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 74

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1946

PLACE OF BIRTH: Paragould, Arkansas, but raised in Marmaduke

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: white

OCCUPATION: artist

EDUCATION: bachelor’s degree in journalism and art from Arkansas State University

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

The subject has lived almost all his life in Arkansas. (He was born in Paragould and raised in Marmaduke, and he spent 13 years in Fayetteville and the last 33 in Eureka Springs.) He lived five years outside Arkansas: one year in Mountain Grove and St. Louis, Missouri, and four years in Memphis, Tennessee.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH: none

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): 28/02/2020

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

In May of 2014, a judge in Little Rock, Judge Piazza, issued a ruling that is was illegal and unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry in Arkansas. That was on a Friday night, about 5 o’clock. I’d been waiting for the news to hit, and so I looked on my phone. I was at a art reception, and I called up my partner. We’d been together 43 years at that time, and said, “The judge made a ruling. You wanna get married in the morning?” And he said, “Is this a proposal?” And I said, “Yes, it is.” And he said, “Yes.”

So the next morning, bright and early, we were at the courthouse at Eureka Springs: the only courthouse in Arkansas that was open on a Saturday to issue marriage licenses. That’s because Eureka Springs claims to be the marriage capital of the Mid-South. So we were there bright and early. There were two female couples ahead of us. And soon there were tons of people came from all over the state, some from Oklahoma, in order to get a marriage license in Eureka Springs. And the night before, the human rights campaign had called me and wanted to follow me with a camera and a reporter and interview during the process, uh, knowing that I was going to do this. And so I said yes. So there they were. The county clerk, deputy county clerk, showed up. The county clerk conveniently was out of town. And I had wind that there could be trouble getting the license. So the deputy clerk walked up the steps of the courthouse, and I asked her, uh, if we could get a license. And she said no. She said, “I will only issue them to ‘normal’ people.”

I was pretty mad at this point. But I, I, I thought maybe this could happen, so I had the judge’s fourteen-page ruling printed and, and, held in my hand. And so she went in the courthouse, and I told everyone with us to follow in. The two female couples that were there ahead of us got in line. We got in behind them. And she refused to issue license. We stood our ground. I told everyone to stay put. She called the police. The police came, threatened us with arrest and told us to get out of the courthouse. My partner and a couple of my friends and I were the last to leave. So, finally, we felt like we had to leave. And by the time I got to the car, uh, the police called us back and said that another clerk who was there to issue, take care of voter registration, stepped in and said she would issue the licenses.

So, we got back in line the same way we were. We were third in line. We got our license. And because I knew this was going to happen, I had a friend who could, uh, officiate, do the wedding ceremony almost on the spot. We walked down the hall in the courthouse and got married immediately, turned the marriage license back in so that it’d be recorded in case there was a stay. And we were the first same-sex male couple to be married in any Southern state.

So, that is my big, fat, gay wedding story, with a happy ending and no arrest.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Ben Corbett

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 02/03/2020

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

The subject, Zeek Taylor, has a dialect that combines characteristics from both northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas Delta. Words with the vowel /ɒ/ (LOT) use the long vowel /ɔ/ (THOUGHT) (comma, job, dog, office, thought). However, the word “on” uses the diphthong /oʊ/ (GOAT). (Also see “hold on” and “laid her on.”)

Diphthong /aɪ/ (PRICE) almost drops its second vowel before both voiced and unvoiced consonants (finally, liking private, wiped, night, bright, idea, surprising, right, tried, night, implied). The diphthong /eɪ/ (FACE) makes several unexpected appearances throughout the accent. The vowel /ɛ/ (DRESS) can become the diphthong /eɪ/ (FACE) (checked). The vowel /i/ (FLEECE) can also become the diphthong /eɪ/ (FACE) (Eureka Springs), as well as /æ/ (TRAP) can (relaxing).

Beginning syllables that usually possess an unstressed /ɪ/ (KIT) use the long vowel /i/ (FLEECE)(deserted, effective). Some commonly known Southern vowel changes occur. For instance, /ɛ/ (DRESS) becomes /ɪ/ (KIT) (when, then, getting, friends, sex). The ending diphthong /oʊ/ (GOAT) is dropped from the end of the word “yellow” and replaced with a schwa /ə/ (COMMA). /r/ is very strong and often lengthened (tire, working , here), though the ending /r/ from the word “mirror” is dropped. The ending vowel of the word “Arkansas” has the long vowel /ɔ/ (THOUGHT). The vowel /ʊ/ (FOOT) in the word “woman” becomes the diphthong /oʊ/ (GOAT). Short vowel /æ/ (TRAP) sometimes becomes the vowel /ɛ/ (DRESS) (and, happen back). And names of the days of the week end with the /i/ (FLEECE) vowel (Friday, Saturday).

COMMENTARY BY: Ben Corbett

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 10/03/2020

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