My PhD thesis explored the sociophonetic variation of French and German gay and straight men to determine the extent that sibilant variation may be a cross-linguistic marker of gay identity for these speakers. Click here to find out more.
'IT'S NOT WHAT YOUR SAID, IT'S HOW YOU SAID IT': AN EMPIRICAL APPROACH TO HUMAN VOICE AS THE OUTWARD EXPRESSION OF INNER CHARACTER
I've recently begun work at Aarhus University as a Postdoc within this interdisciplinary project. The majority of this work examines the role that smoking and alcohol consumption have on voice quality in otherwise healthy young adults. This page will be updated with more information at a later date, though click here to find out more about the overall project.
THE 'CRITICAL ROLE' OF PERFORMATIVE LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY IN DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: AN ANALYSIS OF MATT MERCER'S VOICED NPC CHARACTERS IN LONG FORMAT NARRATIVE STORYTELLING
Within the above mentioned project, I am also conducting a speech analysis of Matt Mercer as he DM's the hugely popular D&D program Critical Role. In this I hope to explore his exploitation of language ideology to convey vital information the players use to make decisions within the game. This analysis focuses on Matt Mercer's construction of non-player character (NPC) voices, examining similarities and differences across the many characters' language use depending on the NPC 'alignment' and their orientation to the players (i.e., good/evil; ally/enemy). More information on this project will be forthcoming.
CROSS-LINGUISTIC PERCEPTIONS OF /s/ AMONG FRENCH, GERMAN, AND ENGLISH LISTENERS
As the third chapter in my PhD Dissertation this joint project with Dr Josef Fruehwald and Dr Lauren Hall-Lew has been accepted and is forthcoming in Language Variation and Change. This study reports the results of a cross-linguistic matched guise test examining the role of /s/ variation and pitch in judgements of sexual orientation and non-normative masculinity in English, French, and German listeners. Listeners responded to manipulations of /s/ and pitch in their native language and all other stimuli languages (English, French, German, and Estonian). All listener groups rate higher pitch stimuli as more gay and more effeminate sounding than lower pitch guises. However, only the English listeners hear [s+] guises as sounding more gay and more effeminate than [s] or [s-] guises. This effect is seen not only in their native language, but across all stimuli languages. French and German listeners, despite previous evidence showing /s/ to vary according to sexual orientation in men's speech, do not hear [s+] guises as more gay or more effeminate in any of the stimuli languages including their native French or German. Read the Open-Access paper here.
THE METHODS PROJECT
A joint project with Dr Lauren Hall-Lew looks at stylistic variation in the speech of four female speakers utilising various sociolinguistic and phonetic speech elicitation methods and self-recording data. While the previous focus lies in sibilant variation, we are expanding the project towards an examination of these speakers' vowels space. In this, we hope to determine the effects that various elicitation methods may have on phonetic variation. The project is an examination of the stylistic differences between sociolinguistic interviews, reading passages, word lists, 'lab tasks' (i.e. Diapix, Map Tasks, Picture Book Narration, etc...) and Self-recorded speech to highlight the importance of how any given methodology may not be as comparable as often assumed. We argue that these methods are often a valuable resource for sociolinguistic methodology, but only after a close examination of why the researcher is implementing any specific methodological approach.
This project follows from a previous study where we had seen significant vowel contrasts of a single speaker in different speech contexts (Boyd et al. 2015). We have presented results of this project at BAAP 2016 in Lancaster, NWAV 45 in Vancouver, and is published in Penn Working Papers in Linguistics, vol 23.2, and Linguistics Vanguard special issue on innovative methods in sociolinguistics.
I'm formerly part of the Edinburgh Speaks project at the University of Edinburgh looking at variation in speech and language use in the Scottish capital. Click here to find out more about this project.