Interviews to Hear and Read
Pairs of ROOTS WITH WINGS Floyd County Public School teachers and Radford University students interviewed Floyd County grandparents, in-laws, good friends, and dads. After we interviewed, we set to work diligently transcribing and reflecting on our experiences. We learned that transcribing can run the gamut from phonetic spellings of dialect to converting to the elusive “standard English.”
We took a dialect quiz from the New York Times and got a kick out of the results. We decided the quiz was a bit biased toward urban dwellers. For example, when it came to this question, “What do you call the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road?,” we thought one of the multiple choice answers should be “had no sidewalk — no need for this word.” We would have added a few questions like, “What do you call a baby cow?” and “Is the way to your house a driveway, a boulevard, a lane, or a farm road?”
For our transcriptions we decided to take a middle ground that is readable, relatable, and respectful to what Appalachian scholar Cratis Williams called “a beautiful stream of speech.” We are scanning and preserving photographs, too. (See “The importance of saving stuff” from our last blog post.) The footprints of our interviews will include audio recordings, photographs, and transcriptions — treasures for families and for the community, conserved by the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery.
We Remember, We Collect, We Protect.