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Soap Suds

Christian Burke

Transcriber & analysis intern


UC Berkeley, 2023


Cognitive Science and French

How Christian would describe themself:

Art. Research. Sailing and windsurfing.

Q&A with Christian

What interests you about this project?

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how my own parents and other adults spoke to me as a child and now I get to take it a bit further, asking questions about factors that influence changes in parent and child communication.

How would you describe your transcribing process?

I work for 30 minute periods transcribing and and take 5 minute breaks to close my eyes after each period. I can spend about 3 hours at it per day, but it becomes harder to maintain focus for much longer than that.

What is your favorite part of transcribing?

I love the moments that catch me by surprise. When a child says something clever and the parent laughs involuntarily; when they talk about having done something that they love, and I get to share in the excitement; when they've had a hard day and express their feelings as colors or extra splashes in the tub.


What are some of the most memorable moments?
It's easiest to remember moments that feel very personal and touch my heart. I remember once a parent who wasn't able to go to a park their child really enjoyed mention in passing that they would love to go with them on the next trip. What they said was very plain, but the tone they used opened up a world of feeling. There was something in it that suggested an awareness of time passing and how special these moments were, and how important it was to be there for as many as possible.

What would people be surprised to know about transcribing a project like this?

It becomes very personal. You start to think about the lives of the families you transcribe and begin to care for them. I find myself remembering my own childhood and what bath times were like, what my family and I did together, and what has stuck with me. I wonder for the families I transcribe what their kids will remember from their own childhood and how much of the period that I'm transcribing will be forgotten. Getting the chance to "be there" for these moments is special.

What are you most excited about for the future of this project?

I can't wait to see what the directions that people take when analyzing this data, especially when it comes to parent and child gendered communication (i.e. the type of language used when talking with girls or boys) and how that changes over time.

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