Crosslinguistic perceptions of/s/among English, French, and German listeners

Zac Boyd, Josef Fruehwald, Lauren Hall-Lew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study reports the results of a crosslinguistic matched guise test examining/s/and pitch variation in judgments of sexual orientation and nonnormative masculinity among English, French, and German listeners. Listeners responded to/s/and pitch manipulations in native and other language stimuli (English, French, German, and Estonian). All listener groups rate higher pitch guises as more gay- A nd effeminate-sounding than lower pitch guises. However, only English listeners hear [s+] guises as more gay- A nd effeminate-sounding than [s] or [s-] guises for all stimuli languages. French and German listeners do not hear [s+] guises as more gay-or effeminate-sounding in any stimulus language, despite this feature's presence in native speech production. English listener results show evidence of indexical transfer, when indexical knowledge is applied to the perception of unknown languages. French and German listener results show how the enregistered status of/s/variation affects perception, despite crosslinguistic similarities in production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-191
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage Variation and Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Language Variation and Change.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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