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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"


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Academic Paper


Title: Hearing 'gay': Prosody, interpretation and the affective judgments of men’s speech
Author: Erez Levon
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~eml246
Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article describes a controlled experiment designed to determine what people listen to specifically when judging a speaker’s sexuality. Four experimental stimuli were produced by digitally shortening the syllable duration and narrowing the pitch range of one male speaker reading a passage. Listeners rated various combinations of the four stimuli on 10 affective scales, including straight/gay and effeminate/masculine. Altering the two variables was insufficient to alter listeners’ perceptions of the speakers sexuality to a level of significance. However, significant correlations between the different attitudinal scales illustrated that perceptions of sexuality are ideologically linked to other perceptions of personality and personhood.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: American Speech 81(1): 56-78, 2006.


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