India 17

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 33

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/12/1984

PLACE OF BIRTH: Chennai, Tamil Nadu (southern India)

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Indian

OCCUPATION: housewife/housekeeper

EDUCATION: tenth grade and office management

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

The subject has lived in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, all of her life, except for spending some time in Ooty, also in Tamil Nadu. Ooty is a picturesque “hill station” (one of the small town in the hills of southern India where people go to find cooler weather in summer).

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

A complete lack of exposure to English as spoken in the West, including broadcasting/national media and also journals or dailies, implies her spoken English is as “pure” a sample of the dialect it represents as is possible in today’s world. In fact, this editor would go so far as to say the subject is unable to even entertain the idea that one can mask one’s accent.

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

RECORDED BY: Asha Elizabeth Pramod

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/02/2018

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Um, I’m joint family. I love Tamil more than English because it’s my mother tongue. I went to go out my country and visit Switzerland because my brother is working there. I love praying and going to church and believe in the power of prayer. I feel a personal relationship with Jesus. I love listening to music on TV. I love, uh, knitting and cooking. Um, I’m happy, uh, when I cook and making new dishes. I love teaching my son at home and doing my, uh, bit there. Uh, I do find myself, uh, struggling bit there — want him to have a better education. …

[The subject speaks the following in Tamil, her mother tongue]: மலர்மிசை ஏகினான் மாணடி சேர்ந்தார் நிலமிசை நீடு வாழ்வார். வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இலான் அடிசேர்ந்தார்க்கு யாண்டும் இடும்பை இல. பொறிவாயில் ஐந்தவித்தான் பொய்தீர் ஒழுக்க நெறிநின்றார் நீடு வாழ்வார். பொறிவாயில் ஐந்தவித்தான் பொய்தீர் ஒழுக்க நெறிநின்றார் நீடு வாழ்வார்.

[Transliteration: malarmicai EkinAn mANaDi cErn^dhAr n^ilamicai n^IDu vAzvAr. vENDuthal vENDAmai ilAn aDicErn^dhArkku yANDum iDumbai ila. iruLcEr iruvinaiyum cErA iRaivan poruLcEr pukazpurin^dhAr mATTu. poRivAyil ain^dhaviththAn poythIr ozukka n^eRin^inRAr n^IDu vAzvAr.]

[English Translation: Those who reach out to the glorious feet of the one who shows up on the flower will have longevity. Those who don’t have requirement or reluctance, there is never distress. Deeds tainted with darkness will not touch those who glorify of God. Those who extinguish the gates of the five sensors and persevere without insincerity — they will acquire longevity.]

TRANSCRIBED BY: Asha Elizabeth Pramod

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 08/02/2018

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

This dialect bears all the hallmarks of that distinctive Tamil flavor. The frappant isolation of the speaker in today’s technologically connected world lends a certain unwemmedness to this sample. Some English words are spoken exactly as if they were Tamil words. For instance, note the pronunciation of the word “implied” as [ɪ̈mplɪ̈d] and the adjective “rare” as [rɐɪr]. Look out for the usage of the semivowel yod before [ɜ] and also schwa, as in “in a” pronounced as [ɪ̈njɚ].

There is an abundance of retroflex consonants and multiple rhotics in Tamil, and Tamil speakers rarely distinguish between voiced and unvoiced consonants. There is also a profuse usage of “Visarga,” an allophone of [r], [s], or [h] in pausa. It is hard to explain it in writing. It may be explained as a dulcified echo of the preceding vowel, along with the aspiration: aḥ will be produced [ɐhᵄ], and iḥ may turn into [ihⁱ]. All of these features clearly creep into the sample. It is almost equivalent to [(a)k].

The subject expressed her awe at the global, unparalleled, ever-expanding voice library that IDEA is and also her happiness about being considered for this project. This is evident in her measured slow delivery of both the scripted and unscripted parts of the sample; the words trickle into sentences. This also means the phonemes are very clear. As such, any actor or linguist who accesses this sample will find it easy to use without having to pause the tape a lot.

COMMENTARY BY: Asha Elizabeth Pramod

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 08/02/2018

The archive provides:

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  • 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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