Northern Ireland 5
Listen to Northern Ireland 5, a 35-year-old woman from Derry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, who has also lived in Devon, England. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.
DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1966
PLACE OF BIRTH: Derry City, Northern Ireland
OCCUPATION: marketing executive, deputy mayor
AREA(S) OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:
The subject was raised in Derry City, Northern Ireland, traveled to London, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia for a year, but had been living in Gr. Torrington, Devon, England, for 14 years at the time of this recording.
OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH: N/A
RECORDED BY: Paul Meier
DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 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 was born in Derry, in Northern Ireland; um, spent first 19 years and then I went to London; had, um, two years in London, came back, worked on for a bit in Derry, and then I actually left completely in 1982; went to London in, um, 1988, and I went to Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, spent a year out there, and then came back; came to Torrington in 1988, end of 1988, and have been here ever since. I don’t think me accent has really changed, but I think um … phrases, I’ve picked up different phrases, Devonshire phrases; that’s more noticeable than my accent, but then maybe other people notice that my accent’s changed, I don’t know; the boys tell me when I get a temper then I sound really Irish [laughs]. I was the youngest of eight children. Um, my dad worked away quite a bit; he worked in London, um, used to come back every six weeks for long weekends, and then he was away, so he was away most of the time during, throughout my childhood; my mother was at home, but she started working when I was about 14, so I was left, at home doing most of the cooking and cleaning whilst everybody else was off working. Well, a sad memory I remember, which was quite sad and still can be quite sad, um, because I’ve got this thing that I’m a real failure, and I think it really goes back to when I was 11; we had to do an exam called the 11-plus, and it was great kind of emphasis put into this exam, y’know, like pass, and if you passed you got a bike and all sorts of things. And I was sure that myself that I had passed, but I brought this brown envelope up to my parents and waited outside the bedroom to see what the results was, and I, uh, heard my father say to my mother, “Well you didn’t expect her to pass,” and it had such a lasting effect on me that’s … and I, I’m sure that’s where I get insecure so that’s quite a strong memory, really. Well, when I came to Torrington, I just fell in love with it immediately and, and, um, one of my first jobs that I really loved here was managing the, uh, the Plough arts center; did that for about four and a half years. And while I was working there, um, it was very difficult getting funding for the arts, and particularly from the town counsel, so that kind of fired me up to join the town council; they fight the buggers from within and, um, which is what I did, and I’ve been a town counselor ever since for about nine years, and I absolutely love it because I, I think I’ve got so much from Torrington and it’s really nice to give something back to.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Faith Harvey
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 22/03/2008
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
She is married to an Englishman, was a marketing executive for tourism groups in the area, and was deputy mayor of the town at the time of the recording. Although her years away from Ireland may have softened her accent (she thinks it as strong as ever), many of the signature sounds of Derry can be heard. Notice the characteristic rising tune at the ends of phrases. Take note of the vowel shapes of two, huge and goose; strut, once and buggars; and Plough, town and now. Also notice the heavy rhoticity of nurse, confirmed, etc. In addition, you will hear how times, fine and lime become homonyms of tames, fain and lame. Among her stories, she tells how failing the 11-plus exam (the all-important exam that British children of her generation took at age 11) left a lasting scar.
If you are a dialect researcher, or an actor using this sample to develop your skill in the accent, please see my instruction manual at www.paulmeier.com. As the speaker in this sample is a unique individual, it is highly unlikely that she will conform to my analysis in every detail. But you will find it interesting and instructive to notice which of my “signature sounds” and “additional features” (always suggested only as commonly heard features of the accent) are widely used by most speakers of the dialect, and which are subject to variation from individual to individual.
COMMENTARY BY: Paul Meier
DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 2001 (amended 13/11/2016)
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