Massachusetts 14

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 70

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 16/02/1949

PLACE OF BIRTH: Duxbury, Massachusetts

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Caucasian (Irish ancestry)

OCCUPATION: retired chemist

EDUCATION: two years of undergraduate work

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

Besides residing in Plymouth County, which is located on the South Shore area near Boston, the speaker has also lived in New Jersey (four years), Maine (two years), and southern Vermont (twenty years).

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

The speaker discusses in the conversational section that attending college and living in New Jersey as a young man had a strong influence 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:

I was raised, uh, south of Boston, and my father did go to Harvard, and when I was 15 years old, he wanted me to go the same route, and I said, “No, I’m not.” Uh, I went to Monmouth College in New Jersey. I pronounced my “r” there, hey, “Joisey,” as they say. But, uh, I had an accent when I went to school there, and I was, uh, in speech class, and we all had to come up and — to the podium — and say wherever you’re from and introduce ourselves, and, uh, I said, “I’m Ladd, I’m from Boston; um, I’ve a car,” you know, all that stuff. And everybody starts laughing, all the kids. So, uh, Professor: She goes, “Where are you from?” and she, and, she made me talk again, and so I said, “You know, I think I’m gonna change my accent.” So, uh, a friend of mine, Tony Vogelsong: He was from, uh, Trenton, and everything, used “r.” Everything he said was, uh, “Hey, wash your car, Ladd.” That kind of thing, and, like, over some course of time, uh, I started losing my accent from the Boston area. And I was down in Jersey for maybe three or four years, and I came back to the Boston area, and I think I regained my accent over time. And sometimes I’ll catch myself saying the, the “r’s” like that, “the car,” and sometimes, “the car.” It just, it depends if I, if I hang out my old friends, back in town, like a “lobster, we’re gonna bake some lobsters today.”

I lived in Maine for a lil’ while, too; everyone up there was like, “You can’t get there from here.” Uh, “Which way to Millinocket?” That kinda thing. Uh, this guy, George Foss, uh, lived in a little town, Hinckley, Maine; there was seven people there. See, I said “there,” so I’m still — it should be “there.” So, I’ve lost parts of, uh, the original accent. But, uh, that’s a good thing. You, um, you’re on the planet for 70 years, you tend to pick up other things.

Uh, went to Ireland, and I thought I talked funny till I got over there. And, uh, I actually shared at, shared at a, uh, a conference there, and they all started, said, “What did you say?” and that kinda thing. And I couldn’t — some of the people, I, I, uh, I didn’t know what they were talkin’; they didn’t even sound Irish to me. The, they’re Gaelic. So, uh. But I felt like I belonged o’er there; it was pretty cool.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 17/08/2019

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

This speaker offers an excellent sample of a Boston dialect that has been tempered by life experience in other areas of New England and New Jersey. As the speaker discusses, he became keenly aware of how his native dialect was perceived by his undergraduate peers in New Jersey and actively worked to adopt r-coloration as a fluency strategy. Indeed, his speech exhibits a rhotic volatility and has more rhoticity than one might expect in a “classic” South Shore dialect. The speaker does, however, maintain the typically far forward, flat placement of sound that is a hallmark of many south Boston dialects.

Also, in the LOT and CLOTH lexical sets, he tends to gravitate more toward [ɑ] or even [a] than [ɒ̜], in words such as “got,” “dog,” “Boston,” and “lobster.” Finally, it is interesting to note how the vowel in the word “car” shifts from [ɑɚ] to [a] as he removes r-coloration.

COMMENTARY BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 27/08/2019

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