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Several speech features are stereotyped as markers of gay male identity: careful pronunciation, wide pitch range, high and rapidly changing pitch, breathy tone, lengthened fricative sounds, and pronunciation of t as ts and d as dz. Some researchers report that North American gay men tend to pronounce sibilants (s, z, sh, and the like) with assibilation -- more sibilation, hissing, or stridency. However, other demographic groups also use assibilation and many people speak with lisps.
A study by Rudolf Gaudio investigated claims that people can identify gay males by their speech and that these listeners use pitch range and fluctuation in deciding. Gaudio found that listeners could identify gay male speakers, but that there were no convincing differences in pitch. In a similar study of female speakers, Birch Moonwomon found listeners could not tell lesbian speakers from straight speakers.
Some analysts say gay people speak with an affected accent, as a way of signalling their identity and affiliation with the gay subculture, or a way to express femininity.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Still others suggest that the accent stems from marginalization.[How to reference and link to summary or text]
See also[edit | edit source]
External resources[edit | edit source]
- Encyclopedia article on "gay speak"
- Economist article on sounding gay
- Beyond Lisping: Code Switching and Gay Speech Styles
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