"ain't gonna back down"

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Thu Sep 12 14:44:54 UTC 2002

Mai Kuha said:
>Yeah, I couldn't find it by googling either. Other possibilities besides The
>Bozo Effect: maybe an overzealous transcriber removed nonstandard features,
>or maybe the quote is less likely to be found on the web if it is from a
>speech given before the internet era. I remember reading it in some printed
>source as an example of intentional nonstandardness used to give an
>impression of toughness. Oh, well... for the moment, I can use "you ain't
>seen nothing yet" from the last presidential election instead.

I don't know if it's a matter of being overzealous.

Years ago, for a graduate course in conversations and interviews, I
transcribed one of the Carter-Ford Presidential debates and compared
my transcript with the "official" transcript published in The New
York Times. Working from memory now (I'm not sure which box at home
the materials are in), there were two sorts of discrepancies. First,
disfluencies (hesitation marks) were cleaned up and some false starts
were removed, in the NYT transcripts. Second, there were some changes
from more to less marked syntactic structures (a problem for me,
since I was looking at relative clause structure). In addition there
were normative spellings ("going to" for "gonna") and the like.

 From what I read about how transcripts were prepared for the next
day's newspaper, transcribers were working very quickly and any
double-checking would have been concerned with factual distortion
rather than seemingly small syntactic and or lexical discrepancies.
Alice Faber                                             faber at haskins.yale.edu
Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

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