Wednesday, May 11, 2011

She Speaks! - a Vlog Meme

Around 4am this morning (my time) I was catching up on my favorite bloggers, as I often do in the wee hours. Carolyn, one of my favorite bloggers who is located in Perth, Australia, posted a vlog (video log) for a meme.

This particular meme is intended to capture dialectical variations of the English language throughout the world. I have always lived within an hours drive of San Francisco, so here's my version.

While I am comfortable taking and posting pictures (usually after doing minimal editing, such as cropping, resizing, or lightening), videos are a whole 'nuther matter. It took several attempts for me to complete the video questionnaire on my Mac using PhotoBooth. I'm not sure why it kept ending the recording, but I finally gave up trying to get it all in one go and am posting three separate short videos.

The following shows what this meme is supposed to include. First are the words to repeat:

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

And then these questions are answered:

What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

And here are my results. Note how my transition glasses change. They get darker as I'm outside and slowly lighten back inside.

Part 1 was captured outside, because I wanted to be like Carolyn, with her beautiful tropical birds and gorgeous trees. Unfortunately, though it was noon, it was windy and cold, causing the recording to be very poor quality. You also get to see a bit of my neighbor's housekeeper, which I didn't notice until I was done. :)

Part two, in my living room, also quit halfway through the questions:

Note that I misspoke when I said I grew up in "north San Francisco." What I meant to say was that I grew up north of San Francisco, about an hour away. I have always lived within an hour of SF. First to the north, then to the east, then to the south, and now smack dab in SF.

And, finally, part three, the end!

If anyone out there understands why PhotoBooth kept quitting, please let me know. I like having the option of doing a video from time to time and I did learn from this process, but I'm obviously doing something wrong.


  1. This seems like a fun project, but I am clueless about how to record anything. I think I sound a lot like you although I am from St. Louis and lived in Nashville and Louisiana for a long time, so I have more R in warsh.

  2. How lovely to hear you, now I can read your blog with your voice in mind. I wonder if the words and questions are leaning towards identifying regional North American differences? I am guessing you don't say aluminum or castle the same way I would!

  3. I didn't know Photobooth would do video. I did mine with iMovie, also standard on the Mac. Nice to hear your voice!

  4. That was fun! You have a lovely voice and nice accent.

  5. Shams, I have read/watched a few of these, very interesting, but I had to laugh when I saw you say "rain when the sun is shining, we call that rain"
    as I had the same thought - when does that happen? not often here!
    plus I learned you are a Calif. native descended on one side from Italian immigrants, me too. and you are very kind to the tourists, to offer the public service info about how cold it is in the summer in SF. :)

  6. This is awesome that you did one of these, and it is lovely to hear your voice! And thank you so much for your very kind words here!
    It was funny that you referred to our "tropical" birds, as they are just common-or-garden Aussie songbirds, and not really tropical! Although we have a few lorikeets hanging around, which are brightly coloured like some tropicals... I hadn't realised how noisy they were until I viewed the video later!
    I like your accent. However, I lived in the US for a year, and I have to say whilst I could pick that distinctive "southern" accent, and eventually I could spot a "new England" accent, to me everybody else just sounded "American" and I could not pick any regional differences. But then I couldn't understand when my US friends couldn't pick the difference between Australian and New Zealand, I guess those subtle differences are noticeable with familiarity.
    I did my video with iMovie. It took about two hours to load onto You Tube... phew. Thus why I didn't bother with making a new one when I realised I had missed out on one of the words!!
    I think we use "sun shower" because of our English heritage here. An actual sun shower is a once in a blue moon event, and I've never seen one that lasted more than ten seconds or so... But we still have a term for it!

  7. I loved listening to yours and I was inspired to do this by Carolyn, also. I had to do mine a couple of times to figure out how to use my camera to take video, but it didn't occur to me to just start from where it would cut off. You made me realize that I likely should add my background.

    As an added note, I tried to add a message last night, but blogger kept telling me that your blog didn't exist.

  8. What great fun! It is wonderful to be able to put an actual voice to your blog so thanks for that. Having been born and raised in Louisiana, a few years spent in Puerto Rico, and all my adult life near Boston, I guess I have sort of a hybrid type of speech. It is really odd to hear/see yourself speak in a video for the first time. I truly didn't think I sounded like that, particularly the intonations of my speech. Fun and enlightening.

  9. I'm also a native Californian. I grew up in the Central Valley, have lived within an hour of San Francisco for the past 40 years.


    I pronounce many of these words differently than you!

    Quite interesting.

  10. It's really nice to hear your voice

  11. How wonderful to hear your lovely voice, Shams! I've always been fascinated by regional accents (and I'm glad you didn't say "bolth.") I've made sort of an informal study of it, since my DH has a very strong Pittsburgh accent!

    I'm wondering if you're aware of the prevalence of "creaky voice" amongst young women, especially? (You don't have it, btw!) This phenomena just amazes me and I hear it all the time.

  12. hey shams, thanks for sharing your vlog! i didn't start the meme -- i got the idea from kate of scathingly brilliant. :)