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Voice Into Text: Case Studies in the History of Linguistic Transcription

Tarantelli, Valentina (2015) Voice Into Text: Case Studies in the History of Linguistic Transcription. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

As a contribution to the field of linguistic historiography (Swiggers, 2010), this thesis offers a detailed narrative of the ‘mental worlds’ of writers tackling the task of transcribing languages both before the appearance of the International Phonetic Alphabet in 1888 and at a time when the IPA was emerging as the agreed standard for phonetic transcription. The narrative includes an account of how the cultural, historical and political background in which these writers operated, ultimately shaped their linguistic transcriptions. I argued that this approach, which also included observations drawn from fields other than linguistics, helped to provide a far richer illustration of their mental worlds, and that its omission would have rendered my analysis seriously deficient. This work has also demonstrated that the writers’ own linguistic training could also hinder, rather than aid, the transcription process. It has also therefore focused on how the authors mediated the tension between their pre-existing linguistic knowledge and the reality of the data they had to analyse. It has been argued that success in this context also resulted in a successful transcription. The two corpora presented in this thesis are the Mohawk religious corpus held at the British Library, and the phonetic transcriptions of the British recordings included in the Berliner Lautarchiv, also at the British Library. Their peculiar characteristics, the challenges they posed to the transcribers, and the factors that led to their creation are discussed at length. With regards to the Mohawk corpus, the analysis has focused on the comparison of the notations of Mohawk by writers belonging to the French tradition and those by English-, German-, or Dutch-speaking authors. The analysis of the Berliner Lautarchiv corpus has instead focused on the phonetic transcriptions created by Alois Brandl, an Austrian Anglicist who was also a student of Henry Sweet.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.693087
Depositing User: Valentina Tarantelli
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2016 14:53
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13856

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