Brian and Kyle have their first video Skype date: A transcript

Appendix A: Transcription Conventions

Comma                  ,               Indicates a continuing intonation with slight upward or downward contour that may not occur at the end of a turn constructional unit, (TCU).

Micropause            (.)          A timed pause of less than 0.2 seconds

Timed silence         (1.8)        Measured in seconds, representing intervals of silence occurring within and between speakers’ turns at talk.

Hyphen         –          An abrupt halt occurring within or at the conclusion of a TCU.

Greater than/Less than signs    > <      < >   Portions of an utterance delivered at a noticeably quicker (> <) or slower (< >) pace than surrounding talk.

Degree signs           ° °            Marks speech produced softly or at a lower volume.

Colon(s)                 : :             Indicates sustained enunciation of a syllable.

Underscored text        hey          Underscoring indicates stress on a word, syllable or sound.

Arrows         ↑ ↓            Marks a rise or fall in intonation.

Out breath             Hhh         Audible expulsion of breath as in laughter, sighing, etc.

In breath                •hh           Audible inhalation is marked with a preceding dot

Awkward in breath           Mm:.hh(2.5) Awkward inhalation followed by timed silence.

Tildes                      ~ ~          Wobbly voice

Double parentheses (( ))       Transcript annotations.

SS                           (SS Laugh)              Indicates verbal action by both speakers

S1                            (S1 laughs)              Speaker one

S2                            (S2 laughs)              Speaker two


BRIAN: Hi, (.) can you hear me?

KYLE: (.) Hi! Yeah!

BRIAN: OK, cool. Oh, (.) I see you. Hi there!

KYLE: I don’t see you yet. (0.4) Oh! There you are. (0.2) Oh! Hey now.

BRIAN: ↑Yeah, I cut my hair.

KYLE: Oh, fantastic.↑ It looks really- (0.4) it’s short for summer. That’s good. >I bet it gets really hot in Michigan.<

BRIAN: Yeah, totally. (•hh Is it hot in Philadelphia?

KYLE: Oh, it’s just AWFUL. But I’ve got this fan. Can you see it? I don’t know how to work this camera. (Ext.)

BRIAN: Oh, I see it. (Hhh) Looks like a nice one.

KYLE: Yeah. (Hhh) It’s a big ass fan.

BRIAN: Ha. (0.8)

KYLE: No, really. °That’s the name of the company°.

BRIAN: ↑ Really? Geez. ↓

KYLE: So. (0.2) Is that a dark and stormy there, you naughty boy?

(SS laugh)

BRIAN: It’s Kombucha, actually. (S1 laughs) (Ext. sound of ice cubes clinking). Remember, I told you how my next door neighbor makes it? It’s so amazing, iced. (Ext. sound of ice cubes clinking).

((10 seconds not transcribed))

BRIAN: °So°. (0.4)

KYLE: Yeah, (.) So.

(SS laugh)


BRIAN: It looks like you’ve got tons of books behind you. >I didn’t know you like to read<. ↑

KYLE: You think I was illiterate? ↑

BRIAN: ~No~!

(SS laugh)

BRIAN: It’s just, you haven’t mentioned books. >We’ve talked about all these TV shows<, so I just thought- (0.2)

KYLE: That I’m illiterate.

BRIAN: °It’s just a lot of books°.

KYLE: Yeah, well, they’re mostly my ex’s. (.) He thinks of them like plants.

BRIAN: (0.2) (cough) Sorry? ↑

KYLE: Like plants. (.) Like, he thinks they’re healthy. Like they clean the space.

BRIAN: Oh, right. (cough) So he just left you all his books?

KYLE: <Can you hold on a sec>, (?) I need to get some lip balm. ↓

((30 seconds not transcribed.))

KYLE: Hey, sorry about that. (Ext) My lips were super nasty.

BRIAN: It’s cool, (.) I know the feeling. It’s the worst.

KYLE: I know, right? ↑

((10 seconds not transcribed))

KYLE: Anyway, ! >Tell me what you’ve been up to<. ↑ Did you end up having that conversation with your boss?

BRIAN: Oh. (Hhh). That. Ri(  : :  )ght. You know, I’m sort of re-thinking it. I’ve got clown camp coming up and it just feels like the wrong time.

KYLE: Wait, °so that’s happening°?

BRAIN: Yeah. I got in ↑.


KYLE: Really! (0.4) You must be so excited.


BRIAN: (S1 laughs) I am. (0.2) It’s going to be great. ↓

KYLE: So, >what’s it like being under a big top<? (s2 laughs)


BRIAN: °Yeah°. (.) I’m actually—it’s not all about gags and such, (0.2) you know? Like, I’m not always walking around in plastic shoes and whatnot. <It’s more about (.) a personal journey towards a state of playfulness>. °And vulnerability°.

KYLE: (.) I’m sorry, (.). I’ve hurt your feelings.

BRIAN: No, it’s fine. (.) It’s just that everyone thinks I run around in funny glasses, but there’s such a deeper layer to it. (0.2). <If everyone clowned around for a weekend, the world would be a better place>.

((10 seconds untranscribed))

KYLE: I’m sorry, (.) I just can’t, (0.3) are you being serious

BRIAN: Yes. (.) Why?


KYLE: ~No~ (0.4). It sounds like a great time.

((10 seconds untranscribed))

KYLE: Wow. (•hhh? So I’m gonna have to skedattle ‘cause I have to walk my neighbor’s schnauzer. I told you about Moo Shu, right? ↑

BRIAN: ↓ You sent me a picture.

KYLE: Right, that’s right! With the eyebrows. He doesn’t even look like a dog. >It’s like, if you were here, you’d be like, is that Frida Kahlo, or is that Frida Kahlo<! ↑ (S2 laughs)


(Ext. sound of something dropping)

(S1 ~laughs~)

KYLE: So it’s been really cool to see each other, finally. (.) Technology, right? ↑

BRIAN: (Hhh) °Yeah°.

KYLE: We’ll have to do this again sometime.


BRIAN: °Yeah°. (0.4)

KYLE: >Oh, and hey, don’t be afraid to stand up to your boss! Go for it, Brian. Stick it to the man<. ↑

BRIAN: Mm:.hh (0.3) °Like I said, it’s not really the right timing°. (.) Plus, I need the health insurance, with clown camp, and all. ↓

KYLE: Or wait. Ri( :: )ght. (0.2) Health insurance, totally. (Ext. panting) OK so Frida here is about to go AWOL. (.) Do we just click off- I guess it’s this red button? (0.2)

(S1 swallows)

KYLE: If we get disconnected, I’ve had a great time! ↑

(Ext. Skype dial tone)

(S1 exhales)

(Ext. Sound of ice cubes clinking)

(End of transcript)


Courtney Maum is a fiction writer based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. A humor columnist for Electric Literature, her work has recently appeared online in Tin House, Blip, Bomb Magazine, The Rumpus, Vol.1, Anderbo and others. A frequent reader at NY-based series and a Literary Death Match champion, she’s currently working on a collection of comic fiction. Find her on Twitter at @cmaum