Massachusetts 13

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 71

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 26/08/1947

PLACE OF BIRTH: Northampton, Massachusetts

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Caucasian (Slovak ancestry)

OCCUPATION: retired carpenter

EDUCATION: B.A.

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

The speaker has lived his entire life in western Massachusetts.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

The speaker says his Slovak grandparents were influential on his 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): 11/08/2019

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Well, I’m a valley boy. The way you tell whether people have grown up in the Connecticut River Valley is the way they pronounce H-O-L-Y-O-K-E. If they’re not from the valley, they say “Holyoke.” If they’re from the valley, they say “Hoyo.” And, uh, so that immediately you know that they’re out-of-towners and they don’t know about the valley code of behavior. We’re an agricultural-based valley, which means “Live and Let Live.” And the other way you can tell: If somebody is going to Amherst College, they will pronounce it “Amherst” when they first get there. So, that’s my story today. Goodbye.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 14/08/2019

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

At the time of publication, this speaker is the only IDEA sample from western Massachusetts.  For context, Northampton is located approximately 100 miles west of Boston. In contrast to the archetypal Boston dialect, this speaker’s dialect exhibits fairly consistent r-coloration.  In his conversational section, he notes how certain town names (Holyoke, Amherst) are pronounced by natives of the Connecticut River Valley: the hallmarks of the “local” pronunciation he cites are elided or weakened consonants, such as the medial [l] and final [k] in “Holyoke” and the medial [h] and final [t] in “Amherst.” You can hear this tendency toward weakened or elided consonants in other words as well (job, stressed, work, bird, goat).

Finally, the speaker cited the influence of Slovak grandparents on his speech. Although he did not make this explicit connection, the fact that he tends to employ a “darker” [l] in all positions (liking, letter, valley, college, well, agricultural) may be a direct result of his family’s Slovak language influence. It should be noted that this consistent usage of velarized [l] is a marker of his idiolect, rather than a “signature sound” of speakers from western Massachusetts.

COMMENTARY BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 18/08/2019

The archive provides:

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