Massachusetts 12

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 30

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 02/11/1988

PLACE OF BIRTH: Malden/Everett, Massachusetts

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Caucasian (Irish/Russian heritage)

OCCUPATION: actor

EDUCATION: master of fine arts

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

Subject lived in New York City for two years, and in London for seven months.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

The subject did not believe there were any major influences on her native Boston idiolect. However, as she notes in her recording, while studying as an undergraduate at Harvard, she taught herself to adopt the more consistent rhoticity of General American speech.

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

RECORDED BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/05/2019

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

So, I did my undergrad at Harvard, and most people would think, “Oh, Harvard’s in the middle of Boston, so people who go there probably talk like people from Boston.” When I tell you, not a single person at that school, except for a couple of the, uh, you know, maintenance guys who would come in to fix stuff in the dorm, talked like me. So my freshman year, I had to “Eliza Doolittle” myself and learn how to pronounce my “R”s, ‘cause my friends would laugh at the way I talked. Nobody talked like me.

And the other thing that people found odd about me, when I was in college, is that every day before class, I’d walk a little bit extra to go to Dunkin’ Donuts before class. Now, if you’re born and bred in Boston, there’s only one place to get coffee — none of this Starbucks crap, none of this French-press-whatever. It’s Dunkin’ Donuts. And not just that; there’s only one thing you can order there: a medium regular. “Regular” doesn’t mean black coffee; “regular” means a lotta cream, a lotta sugar, little bit of coffee; it kinda tastes like ice cream. And if you don’t also drink that in the winter, you’re a wuss. Summer, winter, all year round, born and bred in Boston, that’s the only drink, that’s the only coffee, there’s not another option. I’d get my Dunkie’s iced medium every day before class, and, uh, so what if people want to make fun of me, my, you know? Boston runs on Dunkin’. Go Sox!

TRANSCRIBED BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 10/05/2019

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

As is common for many Boston residents, the subject exhibits a mix of rhotic and non-rhotic speech. For example, there is fairly consistent r-coloration in NURSE lexical set words such as “her” and “person.” By contrast, there is rarely any r-coloration in START lexical set words such as “Harvard” and “Starbucks.”

In our interview, the subject observed that many speakers with a strong Boston dialect will consciously add more r-coloration to their speech if they know they are being recorded, such as in social-media video postings, or when being asked to read a diagnostic passage such as Comma Gets a Cure.

The subject also mentioned that in her experience,  variations in native Boston speaker dialects tend to be shaped by regional proximity to Boston,  social class, and cultural heritage. For example, she mentioned that Boston speakers of Irish and Italian ancestry might employ different idioms in their speech patterns, which is perhaps why she self-identified her ethnicity as being not simply Caucasian, but also specifying Irish and Russian heritage.

COMMENTARY BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 10/05/2019

The archive provides:

  • Recordings of accent/dialect speakers from the region you select.
  • 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).

For instructional materials or coaching in the accents and dialects represented here, please go to Other Dialect Services.