Listen to England 101, a 59-year-old woman from west London, England, who has also spent time in the United States. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.
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DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 01/05/1958
PLACE OF BIRTH: London
OCCUPATION: facilities scheduling coordinator
EDUCATION: college degree
AREAS OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:
She spent the first thirty years of her life in west London. She then moved to the United States, where she has lived for the last 29 years. At the time of this recording, she was living in Kansas.
OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:
Her parents were from London, and her mother made a point to speak with an upper-class British accent. She also was in close contact with her grandparents for about sixteen years, and they spoke Yiddish.
The text used in our recordings of scripted speech can be found by clicking here.
RECORDED BY: Scott Stackhouse
DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 24/08/2017
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:
OK, so, funny story: I, um, I’ve always wanted to do things for the blind ’cause I, I like the way I sound sometimes and I thought I’d like to read books on tape. So we have a local group in town — actually they’re in Lawrence [Kansas] — and I approached them, and I had to audition, and I thought, “Right, I have to go to Lawrence to audition. I don’t have the time of day to do that; Can I do it over the phone?” The answer was yes. But she sent me a whole packet of things that I had to do before I did the audition, and, oh my God: The first thing was a hundred words, all different types of words that I had to say, and I could do about ninety-seven of them; there were three of them; it was like, uh, yeah, not sure how to do that. And then I had to look at picture advertisements and describe them. That was not an easy task to do. I also then had some other advertisements that I would read through, and, uh, I ended up saying to her — I called her up, and I said, “You know, I don’t think I really have time to go through all of this, and I have to, um, work, and what have you”; and she says, “OK, fine, come back when, you know, come back when you’re retired.” OK, I’ll be seventy; you might not be able to hear my voice by the time I’m that age. So that’s been a funny thing in my life. Um, I still want to be able to read books on tape, but, by God, you’ve got to be good at it. And I don’t do different voices; this is, no, this is it; this is it, unless I’m talking to my baby granddaughter, and then I coo and I are — and she listens to me; she’s all of six weeks old.
And another story: Growing up, um, when I was in my teenage years and I was a rebel with my mother, um, I got a bit lazy and sloppy in my speech; and I would speak like a Cockney, and my mother would really tell me off because, uh, she was first generation, uh, British — my grandparents are Polish — and she spoke with an upper-class accent, so if I said the words “yeah, all right, whatever,” she would always reprimand me, and, uh, now I try and — well, now I have to speak clearly because, uh, Americans can’t always understand what I’m saying. …
TRANSCRIBED BY: Scott Stackhouse
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 20/10/2017
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
Even though she has lived in the United States for a long time, her British sounds are very consistent. The lack of rhoticity can be heard throughout, in middle and ending positions such as “nurse, working, efforts, north” and “tower, answer, square.” She uses a linking R in “her efforts.” The GOAT set has the RP sound with the schwa before the “o,” as in “Polish, so, goat,” although it is a bit inconsistent and tends toward a more Midwestern American schwa-less “o” sound sometimes. The “ask” list vowels are present, as in “task, reprimand, answer.” There are lots of lip-rounded sounds for the LOT and CLOTH sets, as in “strong, job, dog, got, off, on.” Sometimes the glottalized “t” sound is heard, as in “whatever, all right, what,” but the “t” sound in the middle and ending positions are usually plosive and unvoiced. The word “tune” has a “ch” sound at the start and a liquid “u” as well. The final “‘l” sound in “rebel” doesn’t quite form and ends up being more of a final “w” sound. Note the British pronunciation on the word “advertisements,” where the stress is on the second syllable. The TRAP set sounds — such as “jacket, trap, have” — are made with a flatter tongue than most Midwesterners use and avoids changing because of an “r” sound, such as in “Mary Harrison.” The word “been” tends toward a long “e” sound like “bean.”
COMMENTARY BY: Scott Stackhouse
DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 01/01/2018
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