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Using dialect resources Dr. Emma Moore

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1 Using dialect resources Dr. Emma Moore
Varieties of English Using dialect resources Dr. Emma Moore

2 Contents Using dialect resources What are they? How can we use them?

3 Recommended resources
Dialect collections on-line University of Edinburgh’s Sound Comparisons site British Library’s Sounds Familiar? pages BBC Voices project

4 1. Dialect Collections on-line
British Library Collection Survey of English Dialects Millennium Memory Bank

5 Survey of English Dialects (SED)
1948ff: Eugen Dieth and Harold Orton Research: Published: Basic materials & Maps Four regions: N, E Midlands, W Midlands & S 313 locations surveyed

6 The urgency… “Harold Orton often told us that it was the eleventh hour, that dialect was rapidly disappearing, and that this was a last-minute exercise to scoop out the last remaining vestige of dialect before it died out under the pressures of modern movement and communication.” (Ellis, 1992: 7).

7 The locations

8 The informants… NORMs (Chambers & Trudgill 1998: 30): Nonmobile Old
“to guarantee their speech is characteristic of the region in which they live” Old “to reflect the speech of a bygone era” Rural “because urban communities involve too much mobility and flux” Male: “because in the western nations women’s speech is considered to be more self-conscious and class-conscious than men’s”

9 Data elicitation Questionnaires (1300 questions)
Using diagrams and pictures to obtain local names and terminology Spontaneous speech (informant's opinions, personal reminiscences, occupational details etc.)

10 Questionnaires “The interviews can thus be conducted by different fieldworkers and under wildly varying circumstances, and still elicit a common core of linguistic data” (Chambers and Trudgill 1998: 21). Collecting vocabulary, pronunciation and (limited) syntax

11 Direct vs. indirect questioning
What do you call a cup? Indirect questioning NAMING: What do you call this? TALKING: What can you make with milk? REVERSE: What’s the barn for, and where is it? COMPLETING: You sweeten tea with…? CONVERTING: A tailor is a man who … suits You ask a tailor to … a suit That’s a nice suit. Tell me who … it

12 SED ‘interpretative’ maps
Simplifying & combining similar words Focusing upon etymology Isoglosses are not ‘absolute’ dividing lines Nonetheless, incredibly useful data…

13 The Millennium Memory Bank (MMB)
A joint project between BBC Local Radio and the British Library Sound Archive “to create an archival ‘snapshot’ of ‘ordinary’ Britons’ opinions and experiences at the turn of the century” (British Library’s Sounds Familiar website).

14 The Century Speaks radio series
During 1998 and 1999, forty BBC local radio stations recorded personal oral histories from a broad cross-section of the population Sixteen themes including ‘where we live’, ‘getting older’, ‘beliefs and fears’ Focus on local, everyday experiences 640 half-hour radio documentaries, 5429 interviews on minidisks

15 Informants Recruited from established groups within the community, such as local history societies, or chosen from respondents to appeals broadcast over the radio. 56% male; 44% female Ages: 5 to 107 years old Backgrounds: diverse ethnic and socio-economic profiles.

16 Utility The speakers in the MMB archive were not selected for the purposes of a dialect survey Nonetheless there is a similar geographic spread to the SED 300 extracts available online “speakers who are representative of their respective speech communities. Precedence was given to passages demonstrating particularly noteworthy linguistic features” (British Library’s Sounds Familiar website).

17 This website contains both SED and MMB recordings.
The SED and MMB online This website contains both SED and MMB recordings. If you search here, you should select either the ‘Survey of English dialects’ or the ‘Millennium Memory Bank’ collection If you search here, both SED and MMB recordings come up. You should ensure you know which survey you are looking at!

18 If you click on ‘Browse by county’, an alphabetic list will appear
Browsing by county… Browsing by county is probably the easiest way to search for your assessment. If you click on ‘Browse by county’, an alphabetic list will appear

19 An example search: Cornwall
Lots of suitable recordings may appear for the county you are looking for. You’re not expected to search all of these, but you may want to look at one from the SED and one from the MMB to compare change over time. Let’s imagine I’ve selected this one from Altarnum. What happens when I click on it?

20 Altarnum, Cornwall This page contains the audio file
Biographical information on the speaker and information about the data collection A link to linguistic information about the sound file

21 Comparing SED and MMB sound files
Notice that this file for ‘Nittings Down’ states “(cf. SED Altarnum)”. This suggests that its an MMB file that we can compare with the original SED data.

22 This confirms that it’s an MMB file.
Nittings Down This confirms that it’s an MMB file. We get all the same information as with the SED file, including the link to the linguistic information.

23 Decoding the linguistic information
You’ll notice that the phonological information is given using weird symbols This is SAMPA: a transcription system that can be used if one doesn’t have IPA fonts To read the SED, and MMB notes, you will need to ‘translate’ the SAMPA fonts into IPA fonts:

24 Translating SAMPA: an example
The symbols correspond with the RP pronunciations, so V = RP /ʌ/ in the word STRUT

25 Dialects Collection On-line
Summary Contains recordings and linguistic information on the SED and MMB Can be used to research the dialects you have been asked to study for your assessment The phonological information will require ‘decoding’ before you can use it.

26 2. The Uni. of Edinburgh’s Sound comparisons project http://www
A study exploring methods for measuring the degree of phonetic similarity between, for instance, accents of English Why? “ What linguists have not been very good at up until recently, however, is measuring the degree of difference, or of similarity, between accents.  In other words, linguists are very good and highly experienced at showing how accents differ; but there are no agreed ways of measuring how different accents are” (Sounds Comparisons website).

27 Informants An ‘opportunity’ sample
Concentration of varieties in Northern Ireland, northeast England and southern Scotland “Indicative of the origin, place of residence, and place of employment (respectively) of the chief data collector, Warren Maguire” (Sound Comparisons website) Some areas are under-represented Unequal balance of varieties

28 Data Data collected from informants reading word lists
Informants organised according to whether their dialect is: ‘Typical’ = a representative sample of the dialect concerned, usually characteristic of native working-class speakers between the ages of 30 and 60. ‘Traditional’ = the still extant traditional dialect pronunciations of the location, most characteristic of older working-class males. ‘Emergent’ = a representative sample of the local pronunciations of younger speakers (typically working-class between the ages of 16 and 25) Not all of the survey dialects have all three ‘types’ represented.

29 Outcomes: Network maps
A network map showing more similarity between ‘modern’ dialects

30 2. The Sound comparisons website
You can select varieties here Wherever there is phonetic transcription, you will hear the transcribed words by rolling your mouse over them

31 An example: London Clicking on a variety, brings up the full word list that you can hear by rolling your mouse over each word If you don’t know where somewhere is, you can click on a map here The variety was selected here

32 Mapping the varieties

33 Utility There are word lists from specific locations.
(e.g. in the North: Morley, Yorkshire and Holy Island, Northumberland) (e.g. in the South: North Devon and Somerset.

34 The Sound Comparisons website
Summary Contains transcripts of word lists from the areas you have been asked to research Is useful only for phonological features The transcriptions use the IPA (although you might not be familiar with some of the more narrow transcriptions).

35 3. British Library’s Sounds Familiar. pages http://www. bl
Teaching and learning resource created by the British Library Contains: Sound recordings Transcriptions Discussions

36 Data Taken from the SED and MMB resources
Considers ethnic variation in addition to ‘traditional’ dialects Describes variation, considers changes in progress, provides tasks

37 Use these tabs to navigate around different kinds of information
The Sounds Familiar? website Use these tabs to navigate around different kinds of information The website makes good use of interactive maps. In particular, this one can be used to view data from different areas and different generations of speakers

38 The Sounds Familiar? map
Different colours refer to different collections and different types of data Clicking on a ‘person’ will take you to a relevant sound recording. Variable amounts of additional information is supplied.

39 Examples… Clicking on ‘Whitehaven, Cumbria’ takes you to a “Modern dialect recording” (from the MMB); but there is no commentary.

40 There’s even a transcript of the recording.
Examples… Clicking on ‘Banbury, Oxfordshire’ takes you to a much more comprehensive page There’s even a transcript of the recording.

41 Resources A lot of this material duplicates what’s available in the Dialect Collections on-line archive But there are some additions features here Transcripts Commentary Links/wider discussions

42 The Sounds Familiar? website
Summary A lot of useful material here, so spend some time exploring the site Specific info on certain dialects General info on trends in British dialects Can be used in conjunction with the Dialect Collection On-Line website.

43 4. BBC Voices project
Set up in early 2000s to obtain more information on language use in the UK Professor Clive Upton (University of Leeds) is the ‘consultant’ for the website There is a large proportion of academic input But much of the site contains input from by non-linguists (journalists and the general public, for instance)

44 Academic contributors….

45 BBC Voices project
You can also search ‘regional pages’ Possible to listen to voice recordings collected by the BBC There is a word map showing current lexical variation in the UK There are features/articles covering language issues

46 Voices recordings Read about them here:
Recorded by BBC journalists between Uses the Survey of Regional English (SuRE) methodology developed by the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield

47 Voices recordings
Clicking on the map takes you to the recordings for different areas. This is the location for ‘Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria’.

48 You are given information on the speakers.
Voices recordings You are given information on the speakers. A series of voice clips are provided. Typically, these have been selected because they highlight language issues.

49 Voices recordings There may also be interviewer notes.
And a commentary provided by Jonnie Robinson from the British Library.

50 Word maps
The Voices project also collected information from the British public on lexical variation. You can search all of this here too.

51 Language issues/discussions
There are a number of features and articles. Take care with these, though – only some of them are written by academics!

52 Regional pages
Either by clicking on the map, or on the list of regions, you can access the ‘regional’ pages for the Voices project. Do take care with this, as these are pages produced by journalists in the BBC regions, so vary in their quality. For example, if you wanted to know about the Oxford region, you would click here or on the map.

53 Example…

54 BBC Voices Summary Wide range of different resources
Data is mixed due to combination of academic/journalistic input Potentially useful resource if used cautiously Data Discussions Maps

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