People Speaking: 11

Harold the Unready

For the last time. Are you coming?
fə ðə ˈlɑːs ˏˌtaɪm. ˊɑː ju ˋkʌmɪŋ   [1]

Now, now. Take it easy.
ˈnaʊ, ˌnaʊ! ˏteɪk ɪt ˋiːzi.   [2]

We promised we'd be there by three fifteen
ˈwi ˋpromɪst wɪb bɪ ˏðeə | baɪ ˏθriː fɪˋftiːn.  [3]

And we shall be. Never fear.
ˈand | wi ˋʃal bi. ˏnevə ˏfɪə.  [4]

Ah! You are exasperating, Harold.
[ˋɑh!] ju ˌɑːr ɪgˋzɑːspəreɪtɪŋ, ˏˌharld.  [5]

You musn't let yourself be exasperated, my sweet.
ju ˊmʌsnt ˈlet jɔːself ˋbiː ɪgzaspəreɪtɪd, maɪ swiːt.  [6]

Anyway, we've missed the ten fourteen train, now.
ˋeniweɪ, | wiːv `mɪst ðə ten fɔːtiːn treɪn ˏˌnaʊ.  [7]

Let's get a taxi then, old girl.
ˈlets | get ə ˋtaksi ðen, əʊl gɜːl.  [8]

You know very well we can't afford taxis on your salary.
ˈjuː nəʊ ˊveri ˎwel | wi ˎkɑːnt əfɔːd ˎtaksɪz ɒn ˋjɔː ˏsalərɪ.  [9]

The lack of any /t/ on last in the first line is a completely normal elision — much more likely to occur than not. So is the assimilation giving /b/ at we'd in line 3.

If you thaut that in that line it was strange that the second syllable of fifteen is shown beginning with /f/ rather than /t/, compare it with the teen of fourteen in line 7. The /t/ of that is aspirated because it begins a syllable. The other /t/ isn't aspirated because it's in its syllable's second position. We don't usually aspirate the /t/ of sixteen either: six deans and sixteens are normally indistinguishable. All the other teens are like fourteen.

In line 5 we've written [ɑh] to roughly indicate the noise she makes which doesn't consist of items of her phoneme system. What she utters cdve equally been written as Oh! Such exclamations are conventionally written with ordinary letters but they vary a lot and are really just noises.

You can't say that their diff·rent values for the stressed vowel in exasperated indicates that either is using a regionalism but you do find that more southerners favour her choice and more northerners his.

You notice that there are no accents on ten or fourteen in line 7. This is a good simple example of the way any potential accents are not realised if they wd return to a topic already raised in a recent conversation or are well to the fore in the minds of the speakers even tho they have not recently actually mentioned them.

Perhaps I shd confess to my EFL readers that the title of this item is something of a pun. Every English schoolboy has learnt of the King Ethelred II, the Unready (978-1016). In his case the nickname that has always stuck to him doesn't mean 'unprepared' but originally had the archaic sense of 'ill-advised'.