Listen to England 37, a 73-year-old woman from Great Torrington, Devon, in southwest England. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.
DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1928
PLACE OF BIRTH: Little Torrington, Devon
EDUCATION: pre-grammar school
AREA(S) OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:
The subject moved to Great Torrington, Devon, at age 5.
OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:
The subject is the daughter of an agricultural worker who could not afford to send her to the grammar school, to which she won a place. She is married to an educated man, and their son is Cambridge-educated and the headmaster of a school.
RECORDED BY: Paul Meier
DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 2001
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:
Well, I was born in Little Torrington, and I came into, um, Great Torrington, to live, in a cottage, below the cattle market. I was about 5 when I came in here. Um, went to school, hated it! And then, when I was 11, we went, I went to, uh, um, a bigger school, where I, uh, ah, oh, what’s it called over Castleford Road? Attamore Road, the new school, it was open then. Where I passed my, an exam, to go to Bideford Grammar School. I couldn’t go, because my father was just an agriculture worker and couldn’t afford the uniform and the books, which you had to BUY in those days. But, um, still never mind, uh, I had a fairly good childhood and you know my father had a small holding and kept chickens and pigs, and whatnot. And then, we lived; I lived at school even till I married [unclear]. I (and) had three children. Uh, they married. Um, it did pay dividends, because my husband was quite well educated, and my daughter passed to go to grammar school, and my younger son passed to go to Bideford Grammar School. And then John hasn’t gotten any, uh, children, unfortunately. But he does love children; he’s a teacher now; he’s deputy headmaster in Brighton. But my other grandson, my oldest grandson went to Cambridge until he was 25. So I think what we my husband and I had, came out in the children. Because, he was one of fourteen. Now I used to like to pick up the eggs, and I got into trouble one day because I thought I found quite a few, and instead of that the hen was sitting on them to hatch the chickens. So I got into trouble for bringing them in. Because they have to be kept at the right temperature and by me bringing them in, lowered the temperature, and… we had no chickens! I suppose the hen gets off to… run about, and I saw these lovely eggs, and funny enough, in those days, they used to mark the eggs with indelible pencil, to show they were eggs to be hatched. I didn’t know that. And I thought well, funny eggs! Fancy these being laid like this! And I said to mother, “Where do these-this-these marks come from?” She said, never mind where the marks come from, it’s where the eggs come from. And it was in in a nest all, you know, ready for the hen to sit on, to keep them warm, you see! And then that was one thing. I can remember being tipped out of a pram. I can remember being … I don’t know how old I was, but I can vaguely remember sitting up in a pram in the corner of my mother’s kitchen, and my sister, she is still living actually, but the other one has died; I can remember them tipping me out of the pram. Going down school lane: I can remember that. We couldn’t afford to go I mean to go to the seaside in those days were a treat, for us, you know for a Sunday school outing or something like that. [Interviewer: Now when we were together at that pub the other night, (Yes) you were lapsing into broad north Devon.] Yes, like where be going to … I said been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. Us be please to see … [Interview interjects.] But I’m grainvor now. So that means I’m going somewhere. I’m goin gwenfore. F-o-r-e. You great gawk … That means to say you silly fool. And then say you’re going to meet someone well (and) what time shall he be there, well come over here then. See, you’m going, or look where you’m going. That’s someone else, what else, but I can’t think of it now. Well, I can remember coming up through a street with a friend of mine. And in those days with the door ringing the doorbell and running away, so we rung the doorbell, didn’t run away. Well next thing I knew we had a pair of gloves … Bang … but I daren’t go to tell me mother because you got another one for doing it. Well I had a slap in the yer then … ear.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Jonathan Matteson and Summer Mulford
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 02/2008
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
The sounds of Devon one can hear in her speech include the occasional dropped “h,” the vowels of the “mouth,” “goat” and “bath” lexical sets, and some mild r-coloration in the “start” set. She tells an amusing story of getting into trouble as a little girl for collecting the incubating eggs from under the hens on her parents’ farm.
COMMENTARY BY: Paul Meier
DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 2001
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