losing the "gay voice"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Feb 28 22:28:56 UTC 2008

At 5:09 PM -0500 2/28/08, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>I should have kept up on the research better, but what I remember is that (a)
>there seems to be such a thing as "gay voice" in the sense that people are
>able to judge male sexual orientation correctly with some accuracy just from
>listening to them but (b) nobody knows what it is, i.e., phonological studies
>fail to reveal what it is that people are reacting to that allows them to make
>such judgments correctly.

See the recent paper by Erez Levon in American Speech:

Levon, Erez (2006). Hearing "gay": Prosody, interpretation, and the
affective judgments of men's speech.  American Speech 81: 56-78.


>The same goes, as I recall, for the "black voice."
>I'm not sure how a speech therapist could eliminate something the relevant
>characteristics of which have not been scientifically identified.
>In a message dated 2/28/08 2:41:46 PM, zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU writes:
>>  i've been corresponding
>>  with a college student who describes himself as tortured by his gay
>>  voice (so he's certainly motivated to learn to "talk straight"), and
>>  who asked about speech therapists in his area, or even (omigod)
>>  surgery.  i explained that there was almost surely no anatomical
>>  source for his speech style, and that perhaps -- big perhaps --
>>  therapists who dealt with "accent reduction" might be helpful.  (i
>>  also forwarded to him a piece by ben munson, at umn, on pathology vs.
>>  social indexing, written for speech-language-pathology folks rather
>>  than for the general public.)
>>  does anyone here know anything about accent reduction programs?  are
>>  they, or at least some of them, effective in teaching speakers of
>>  english as a foreign language to reduce their foreign accents, or in
>>  teaching native speakers to code-switch?
>>  arnold, who knows almost nothing about this world
>Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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