The influence of sexual orientation on vowel production (L)

Janet B. Pierrehumbert, Tessa Bent, Benjamin Munson, Ann R. Bradlow, J. Michael Bailey

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Vowel production in gay, lesbian, bisexual (GLB), and heterosexual speakers was examined. Differences in the acoustic characteristics of vowels were found as a function of sexual orientation. Lesbian and bisexual women produced less fronted /u/ and /a/ than heterosexual women. Gay men produced a more expanded vowel space than heterosexual men. However, the vowels of GLB speakers were not generally shifted toward vowel patterns typical of the opposite sex. These results are inconsistent with the conjecture that innate biological factors have a broadly feminizing influence on the speech of gay men and a broadly masculinizing influence on the speech of lesbian/ bisexual women. They are consistent with the idea that innate biological factors influence GLB speech patterns indirectly by causing selective adoption of certain speech patterns characteristic of the opposite sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1905-1908
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4 I
StatePublished - Oct 2004


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