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The Phonological Variation and Change in Contemporary Spoken English (PVC) corpus


Period: 1990s

 

Interview details: 18 interviews. Total word count = 208,295. Total audio length = 17 hours 34 minutes 25 seconds.

 

The PVC project team: Gerry Docherty, Paul Foulkes, Jim Milroy, Lesley Milroy, Penny Oxley, David Walshaw and Dominic Watt.

 


Like the Tyneside Linguistic Survey of the 1960s and 1970s, the Phonological Variation and Change in Contemporary Spoken English project was a study of local accent features. The PVC project team collected 18 interviews, recorded around 1994, which consist of conversations between two friends or relatives of similar age and social background. As well as gender, age, residence, education and occupation, Table 9 below records the socio-economic group to which each informant was assigned. These classifications were made on the basis of a broadly defined notion of social class that was determined by place of residence within Newcastle.

One of the informants is recorded in two separate interviews (decten1pvc06 and decten1pvc08). In decten1pvc06, she is recorded with her brother, while in decten1pvc08 she is talking with a female friend. It is apparent that some of the other informants from different interviews also know each other. The informants were free to discuss any topic that they chose. Unlike the TLS interviews, the PVC interviewer plays little or no part in most of the interviews, though she does occasionally ask questions or suggest new topics when the conversation dries up (e.g. decten1pvc01 and decten1pvc06) or when one of the informants has to leave early (decten1pvc17). The interviewer also seems to play a slightly more active part in the two recordings that involve married couples (decten1pvc04 and decten1pvc05). As in the TLS, the project's focus on features of accent is reflected in the word list that most of the informants are asked to read out at the end of the interviews.

Only selective phonetic transcriptions of words of interest were produced at the time of the project. The recordings were made on digital audio tape and average around 60 minutes in length. Most of the interviews take place in informants' homes, though at least four of them (decten1pvc15, decten1pvc16, decten1pvc17 and decten1pvc18) were evidently recorded at Rutherford School, in Fenham, Newcastle (just before it was renamed Westgate Community College). The first three of these involve pairs of students, and the last one records a pair of dinner ladies.

PVC's primary research aim, as the title of the project suggests, was to examine patterns of phonological variation and change in contemporary spoken British English. The methodology of this study and some results from it can be found in Milroy et al. (1997) Docherty & Foulkes (1999) and Watt & Milroy (1999).

Table 1 summarizes PVC component of DECTE.

Table 1. PVC Interviews in DECTE

Interview Code

Word

Count

Audio

(mins:secs)

Interview Code

Word

Count

Audio

(mins:secs)

decten1pvc01

9,445

55:36

decten1pvc10

11,417

60:04

decten1pvc02

8,796

50:46

decten1pvc11

11,000

55:28

decten1pvc03

11,520

61:18

decten1pvc12

13,731

59:26

decten1pvc04

9,480

60:31

decten1pvc13

12,603

60:48

decten1pvc05

10,825

61:24

decten1pvc14

12,161

61:10

decten1pvc06

11,543

60:23

decten1pvc15

12,230

60:48

decten1pvc07

13,599

61:42

decten1pvc16

13,211

55:18

decten1pvc08

11,673

56:49

decten1pvc17

10,665

53:28

decten1pvc09

11,410

57:42

decten1pvc18

12,986

61:44

 

Each interview has two primary informants. These are listed in Table 2 as 'a' and 'b' together with associated social data.

 

Table 2. PVC Informant Details

Informant Code

Gender

Age Group

Region - Residence

(Birth Place, if different)

Education

Occupation

Socio-Economic Class

informantPVC01a

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

YTS (Youth Training Scheme) - Computing

Student

Lower Middle Class

informantPVC01b

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

Further Education

Student

Lower Middle Class

informantPVC02a

Male

61-70

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

Youth Training Manager (Painting and Decorating)

Lower Middle Class

informantPVC02b

Male

51-60

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

Plumber (retired)

Lower Middle Class

informantPVC03a

Female

51-60

Tyneside - Newcastle

Left school at 15

Clerical and Hospitality Worker (retired)

Middle Class

informantPVC03b

Female

51-60

Tyneside - Newcastle

Higher Education (Physics Degree)

Physics Teacher (unemployed)

Middle Class

informantPVC04a

Male

61-70

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

Coach Driver (retired)

Lower Middle Class

informantPVC04b

Female

61-70

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

Clerk and Treasurer of Golf Club

Lower Middle Class

informantPVC05a

Male

61-70

Tyneside - Newcastle

Left school at 14

Bus Driver (unemployed)

Upper Working Class

informantPVC05b

Female

61-70

Tyneside - Newcastle

Left school at 15

Shop Assistant

Upper Working Class

informantPVC06a

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification)

YTS (Youth Training Scheme) - Trainee Mechanic

Working Class

informantPVC06b

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

City and Guilds

Qualified Car Mechanic

Working Class

informantPVC07a

Female

51-60

Tyneside - Newcastle

Left school at 16; subsequent Commercial College

Secretary

Middle Class

informantPVC07b

Female

51-60

Tyneside - Newcastle

Left school at 16; subsequent Commercial College

Banking (retired)

Middle Class

informantPVC08a

see details for informantPVC06a

informantPVC08b

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education); Secretarial Course

Office Junior

Working Class

informantPVC09a

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification)

Student

Middle Class

informantPVC09b

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

A-Levels

Student

Middle Class

informantPVC10a

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

Further Education

Bank Worker

Middle Class

informantPVC10b

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

Further Education

Student

Middle Class

informantPVC11a

Male

41-50

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

Teacher

Middle Class

informantPVC11b

Male

41-50

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

Local Government Officer

Middle Class

informantPVC12a

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

A-Levels

Student

Middle Class

informantPVC12b

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

A-Levels

Student

Middle Class

informantPVC13a

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

Student

Middle Class

informantPVC13b

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

Student

Middle Class

informantPVC14a

Male

61-70

Tyneside - Newcastle

Left school at 13

Postmaster (retired)

Middle Class

informantPVC14b

Male

71-80

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

Business Owner (retired)

Middle Class

informantPVC15a

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

A-Levels

Student

Working Class

informantPVC15b

Male

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

A-Levels

Student

Working Class

informantPVC16a

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

(born in Pakistan)

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

Student

Working Class

informantPVC16b

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

Student

Working Class

informantPVC17a

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

A-Levels

Student

Working Class

informantPVC17b

Female

16-20

Tyneside - Newcastle

A-Levels

Student

Working Class

informantPVC18a

Female

41-50

Tyneside - Newcastle

Unknown

School Cook

Working Class

informantPVC18b

Female

41-50

Tyneside - Newcastle

Left school at 16

School Cook

Working Class

The age and gender information in Table 2 is summarized in Table 3.

Table 3. PVC Informants by Age and Gender

Age

All

Female

Male

16-20

19

10

9

21-30

0

0

0

31-40

0

0

0

41-50

4

2

2

51-60

5

4

1

61-70

6

2

4

71-80

1

0

1

81-90

0

0

0

TOTAL

35

18

17

In 1998, Karen Corrigan of the School of English Literary and Linguistic Studies at Newcastle University used  the TLS and PVC materials for a real-time sociolinguistic study. The data controllers of the PVC project were approached for permission to use their recordings, and they donated the 18 audio tapes to the Catherine Cookson Archive for this purpose. The first orthographic transcriptions of the PVC corpus were made during this study. In 2001-2005 these PVC materials were incorporated into the Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (NECTE) corpus.