Linguistics and English Language

Language variation and change

Speaker: Ryan Shaw-Hawkins

Title: Gendered speech production beyond the binary: A socio-articulatory study of laterals in Non-Binary speakers

Abstract: Non-binary (NB) people are those who do not identify with either traditional binary of ‘male’ and ‘female’. Transactual UK’s Trans Lives Survey 2021 showed that NB people are discriminated against and failed in sectors of education, occupation and healthcare. Previous sociolinguistic research on NB speakers has found that in settings, like those just mentioned, perceived as non- queer, NB individuals manipulate language to avoid being misgendered with the gender they were assigned at birth, with some research finding patterning of linguistic variables distinct from cis participants. In this project, I shall examine how NB speakers across two distinct dialects - Standard Southern British English and Glaswegian English - vary their speech according to the style and context of an interaction. I will carry out a fine-grained examination of the production of laterals, e.g., Like, cool, to see how this variable patterns within the NB community compared to the categorical variable ING. Data will be collected using Ultrasound Tongue Imaging (UTI) together with acoustic recordings across lab and field site settings, including: queer and non-queer contexts; and public and private contexts. By providing an account of language and gender beyond the binary – an underrepresented area in contemporary sociolinguistic theory – I will present an analysis of how NB gender identity is constructed through speech. The findings of this research will be used to inform and guide speech and language therapy services for NB individuals, as one’s voice acts as a critical mediator of gender perception. This investigation, additionally, will provide extended visibility for NB people and their stories and, most importantly, through gaining insight into the lived experience of NB individuals, I will be able to advise policy by working with practitioners to implement interventions that are research-led.

Contact details

Christian Ilbury

Nov 21 2022 -

Language variation and change

2022-11-21: Gendered speech production beyond the binary: A socio-articulatory study of laterals in Non-Binary speakers

Room 1.17, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD