Virginia 12

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Note: The subject leaves out parts of Comma Gets a Cure, including the final sentence.

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

AGE: 92

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 26/02/1927

PLACE OF BIRTH: Brook Hill, Virginia (part of Fairfield District, just north of Richmond, Virginia)

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: white

OCCUPATION: retired (served in Army Air Corps)

EDUCATION: bachelor’s degree in history and government, with extended studies in healthcare administration

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

The subject left his hometown of Richmond at the age of 18 and lived in both Rio Hato and Panama City, Panama, for roughly a year while in the Army Air Corps. Since that time, he has lived in many cities around Virginia including Virginia Beach and Alexandria, where he lived from the age of 40 to 67. At the time of this recording, he was back in Richmond.

OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:

Both of the subject’s parents grew up in Virginia as well.

The text used in our recordings of scripted speech can be found by clicking here.

RECORDED BY: Sarah Maria Nichols

DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 28/01/2020

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:

Ahh, golly, I guess, uh, a-lemme tell you about going into service. Uh, I had, uh, joined the Army Air Corps to be a pilot or a navigator or a co-pilot. And they called it the Cadets. [clears throat] And bo-uh, but they, uh, when I joined, they ga-it was a special program, and I was in the middle of a college year. And they said, “We’ll give ya to the end of the year to, uh, finish your year and then you can — then we’ll call you in.” ‘Course I was figurin’, you know, I was gon’ have a couple weeks after the year, and I was gon’ go to the beach and have a big time. But they called me up right, very day that the college was over. And, uh, but in the meantime, the war was ended in Europe, and it hadn’t ended in Japan yet, but they were curtailin’ their Cadet program, so they offered me the opportunity of getting out of the service or staying in the Army Air force and serving my time there rather than – if I got out, I’d be drafted and go into whatever branch.

So, anyway, I-I took ‘em up on that particular offer and, and, uh [clears throat], not bein’ really traveled, uh, they, uh, the train came through my little town that I lived in, which was Ashland, Virginia, and I got on the train and I went to a place called Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania, which was what they call an induction station. And they, uh, gave you all your shots, ‘n, you know, we were brand new, and the guys that’d been there five days, they were old-timers, and they would holler at ya: “Watch out for the square needle!” [laughs] Or, you know, just to upset ya: “Uh, watch out for the one with the propeller on it!” [laughs]

Anyway, uh, the funny thing was they, uh, they gave ya, took your clothes, and they had a big warehouse, and you went down the line and you picked up your socks, and you picked up your shirt, and you picked up — and you were givin’ up your civilian clothes as you went. And then you put on these clothes that the Army gave you. And you went down this long line; you got to the shirts and the pants and the underwear, and all that stuff. [clears throat] And then you got to the, uh, end of the line, and there’s a great big mirror at the end of the line that say, “You are lookin’ at the best-dressed soldier in the world.” You can imagine what we looked like, ‘cause nothin’ fit, o’course. [laughs] It, it was funny. But, uh, they would say that you’d look at yourself and you really look, like, terrible. [laughs]

[The subject reads “Kit List” sentences, a dialect exercise:]

Margaret’s car drove fast past the marble arch on the way to her aunt’s garden party.

I like smiling wide from deep inside.

Soiled oysters feel exploited when anointed with a choice of oil.

The clown crouched down and frowned as he heard a loud sound.

Maria was sincere in her weird career but feared the fierce bearded cashier.

The careless hare daringly stared at the pair of bears from under the chair.

Muriel assured the poor tourist that the insurance was sure to cover Europe.

TRANSCRIBED BY: Sarah Maria Nichols

DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 31/01/2020

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A

TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A

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

SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY:

This subject serves as a clear demonstration of the American “soft-r” Southern dialect. However, he possesses a rarely found characteristic within the dialect: a Canadian-like MOUTH set shift (/aʊ/ to /ʌʊ/). You hear it when he says “Watch out for the square needle” as well as “they had a big warehouse.”

I had him read the following Kit List sentence to single out the sound shift: “The clown crouched down and frowned as he heard a loud sound.” However, upon doing so, that MOUTH set shift was nonexistent apart from very slightly on the word “crouched.” This leads me to hypothesize that this Canadian-like shift occurs only when followed by an unvoiced consonant.

The subject’s pronunciation of “comma” in the scripted reading is likely due to his confusion over the word’s unusual use as a proper name (which is common among IDEA subjects).

COMMENTARY BY: Sarah Maria Nichols

DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): 31/01/2020

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.