North Carolina 14
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DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1959
PLACE OF BIRTH: Tennessee
EDUCATION: high school
AREA(S) OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:
Subject was born in Tennessee where he lived until age 5. The family then moved to Burnsville, North Carolina (pop.1500), in Yancey County (western part of the state, in the Appalachian Mountains), where he was raised in modest circumstances and where he was still living at the time of this interview. He has also lived in Texas.
OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:
Subject’s parents are from Yancey County too, and despite having lived for five years in Huntsville, Texas, he assures me his is a proper Yancey County accent.
The text used in our recordings of scripted speech can be found by clicking here.
RECORDED BY: Pat Toole
DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 08/2001
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:
I used to spend a lotta time at my granny’s house. I called her granny. An’, uh, uh, my grandfather was Baptist preacher. An’, uh, the — I remember they built the new parsonage, an’ we’d go out there, an’ we’d always stayed at granny’s house during the summer. An’ granny — I was about 5 n’ my cousin Allen is about 6, a little older’n me — an’, uh, Granny had a rooster. An’, uh, they called him Ro-ho. An’ the rooster hated us. An’ me an’ Allen lived in fear of the rooster. Uh, we’d get out in the yard — or if we got off the porch, here’d come the rooster, a-flappin’ its wings, n’ run us back in the house, or run us up a apple tree. We’d have to sing n’ holler n’ cry for Granny to come get the rooster so we could get out o’ the apple tree. An, uh, one day me n’ Allen went to the river — they lived down by the river — we decided that, uh — we seen a little toy boat over on the other side of the river, an’ we decided we’s gonna take our clothes off an’ walk ‘cross there an’ get that toy. So we stripped down naked an’ we started across the river an’ here come Granny with the switch. An’ she wore us out all the way back to the house. But — an’ I’s glad she got to me first, ‘cause she got poor ol’ Allen, she whooped him most o’ the way to the house. [laughs] An’ Granny was the — she was the strong arm of the law back then. That’s, uh, s-some of the — one of the things — that’s when we still lived in Tennessee. But, uh, I went back n’ forth between my grandparents’ houses. My other grandmother, Pearl, uh, Pearl used to have spells. That’s what they called ‘em. Pearl would have a spell. An’ she’d set up all night. An’ she painted. She was like a artist. She went to college. She was a student there — I mean, a, a teacher here, in Yancey County. An’, uh, she’d set up, drag out ol’ magazines n’ paint an’ drive pappy crazy, n’ her talk — Lord, she’d talk your ear off with her — Pubba, we called her Pubba — Pubba’s spells. An’, uh, I remember Milt one time he’d got up — he’d get all fancied up to go to church up here at the Methodist — Higgins Methodist — an’ she had a ol’, uh, dishpan that where she’d — when she washed dishes, she’d rinse them in that dishpan o’ water — and they had — when they’d argue, he’d say, “Icky” — she’d say somethin’ smart to him, an’ he’d say, “Icky.” He started out the door goin’ to church, an’ she hit him in the back with that dishpan o’ water. An’ I never seen anybody so mad in their life. Milt didn’t make the service that day. …
TRANSCRIBED BY: Sandra Lindberg
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 06/05/2008
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
Subject has done a fair amount of work in the local theatre, where his deep voice and strong accent are apparently used to great effect, even as the dialect limits the roles he can play. The subject uses a retracted “r,” tends to drop consonants (“sentimental becomes “senimenal,” and “for her” becomes “for’er”), and consistently contracts “-ing” to “-in (“likin’,” “mornin’,” “callin'”). He sometimes adds sounds to words: “waiting” becomes “a-waitin’,” “flapping” becomes “a-flapping’.” He reads past tense as present: “began” becomes “begin,” and “came” turned into “come.” The diphthong in “white” and “time” loses its second element. The vowel in “get” and “gently” changes to the higher vowel. Many pure vowels are elongated: check out “mess,” “vet” and “stressed”; “summer,” “cousin” and “up”; and “boat,” as well as “talk” and “service.” On the other hand, notice that the short schwa replaces the final sounds in “yellow” and “mirror.” “Spell” becomes a two-syllable word. The schwa precedes the vowel in “tree” and the diphthong in “hated” and “face.” Special pronunciations include “think,” which almost becomes “thank”; “singin’,” which becomes “sangin'” (the “g” is not hard); and “can’t,” which becomes “cain’t.”
COMMENTARY BY: Pat Toole
DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 08/2001
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