Tennessee 12

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BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 19

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 07/02/2000

PLACE OF BIRTH: Nashville, but raised in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Caucasian

OCCUPATION: college student

EDUCATION: currently working toward an undergraduate degree

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

The speaker has lived in Murfreesboro for most of her life; however, she is attending college in Boston, Massachusetts. At the time of this recording, she had lived in Boston for approximately 10 months.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

As the speaker discusses in her conversational section, she is aware of the shifts she makes in her speech, particularly during the audition process as an actress, but also in the social context of meeting new people in northern regions. She also noted that while her mother is from Tennessee, her father is originally from Portsmouth, Ohio; she believes this has influenced her idiolect.

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): 08/10/2019

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’m from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and we are exactly in the center of the state. And we are in between Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee, and Nashville is actually a little north of us. Um, and our area is in the basin, so we’re surrounded by mountains, so it’s very interesting to drive more towards the more elevated regions and hear the difference in the accent, because the Southern accent does get thicker as you go more towards toward Shelbyville, Tennessee, which is spelled like “Shelbyville” but we pronounce it “Shebvul” or McMinnville, which is spelled “McMinnville.” Um, typically any small area that has a “-ville” at the end is pronounced “-vul,” whereas any bigger city like Knoxville and Nashville are “-ville.” Um, we also have our own way of saying Northern words: We say “lawyer” instead of “lawyer.” It’s Lafayette, but we say “Lafayette.” Our town has a very small-town vibe, however a really big population. There’s constantly people moving in from Nashville, so that they can reside in Murfreesboro but commute to Nashville for work, but there’s a lot of people who have remained in Murfreesboro, so there’s people who’re trying to make it to Nashville and who don’t have an accent or who are from around other parts of the country. And then there’s people who have lived in Murfreesboro for most of their lives, and they all have a very thick, specific accent.

I also have personally had to change my idiolect as I now live in Boston, to go to school. And, for example, up in the North here, instead of saying my name, which is Julia, I have to say “Ju-li-a,” so that my idiolect can be understood. Um, and as an actress, I also’ve had to switch my idiolect, because, when I enter a room, if I speak a certain way and I slur my words and my words run together, sometimes it comes off as less professional, or somewhat lazy. And I want to make sure that my audience can understand what I’m saying and that whoever I’m auditioning for knows that I can clearly say my words, in more of an American palette than a Southern palette. So, most of the time I subconsciously do that when I meet people as well, and I often hear that, “Oh, I didn’t hear your accent the first time that I met you, but I did hear it the second time.” And I wonder if subconsciously I push my idiolect down a little bit, so that I sound more “typical American,” so that people can better understand me.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 08/10/2019

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

This speaker reflects on fluency strategies she has adopted as a speaker with an American Southern dialect who is living in a Northern U.S. city. She also describes how the suffix “-ville” can be pronounced differently in Tennessee, depending on the town’s size. These insights might be of particular use to an actor who is researching a contemporary American Southern role, or a play set in this region.

COMMENTARY BY: Bryn Austin

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 09/10/2019

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.

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