Gender variation in voice quality

Author: Monique Biemans
LOT Number: 38
ISBN: 90-76864-04-7
Pages: 212
Year: 2000
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This thesis focuses on voice quality and gender, whose relationship is studied by:
• Making a distinction between the influence on voice quality of both biological
gender and social gender. Social gender was operationalised as gender identity,
i.e. the extent to which gender-prototypical behaviour, thoughts, or feelings are
part of a person's identity.
• Studying the relation between voice quality and gender from complementary
perspectives, i.e. acoustic measurements, perceptual descriptions, and personality
attributions. This was accomplished by implementing Scherer's model of
impression formation (1978; 1979) (see Figure 1.2).
The three main research questions to be answered were the following (see chapter
1):
1. How is gender expressed in the voice, i.e. what is the relation between
gender (both biological and social) and voice quality from 'identity' to
'representation' in Figure 1.2?
2. Do speakers' gender characteristics correspond to listeners' voice-based
gender impressions, i.e. what is the relation between gender (both biological
and social) and voice quality from 'identity' to 'impression' in Figure 1.2?
3. How does voice quality give rise to gender impressions, i.e. what is the
relation between gender (both biological and social) and voice quality from
'representation' to 'impression' in Figure 1.2?
These questions were answered by addressing all five stages of the model in Figure
1.2, and relating these to each other. 'Identity' refers to stage I of the model, i.e. the
speakers' gender characteristics which may be expressed in the voice.
'Representation' refers to stages II through IV of the model, which are descriptions
of the speakers' voice quality characteristics by means of acoustic measurements and
perceptual descriptions by expert phoneticians and phonetically naive listeners.
'Impression' refers to stage V of the model, which pertains to the attribution of
gendered personality traits by listeners to speakers on the basis of their voices.
The organisation of this chapter is as follows. First, in section 10.2 the main findings
are summarised for each of the data analytic chapters (chapters 3 through 9). Next,
in section 10.3 the relationships as identified in the main research questions above
are discussed: from 'identity' to 'representation', from 'identity' to 'impression', and
from 'representation' to 'impression'. The differences and similarities in these three 
relations are then discussed. The chapter ends with several concluding remarks in
section 10.4.

This thesis focuses on voice quality and gender, whose relationship is studied by:
• Making a distinction between the influence on voice quality of both biological
gender and social gender. Social gender was operationalised as gender identity,
i.e. the extent to which gender-prototypical behaviour, thoughts, or feelings are
part of a person's identity.
• Studying the relation between voice quality and gender from complementary
perspectives, i.e. acoustic measurements, perceptual descriptions, and personality
attributions. This was accomplished by implementing Scherer's model of
impression formation (1978; 1979) (see Figure 1.2).
The three main research questions to be answered were the following (see chapter
1):
1. How is gender expressed in the voice, i.e. what is the relation between
gender (both biological and social) and voice quality from 'identity' to
'representation' in Figure 1.2?
2. Do speakers' gender characteristics correspond to listeners' voice-based
gender impressions, i.e. what is the relation between gender (both biological
and social) and voice quality from 'identity' to 'impression' in Figure 1.2?
3. How does voice quality give rise to gender impressions, i.e. what is the
relation between gender (both biological and social) and voice quality from
'representation' to 'impression' in Figure 1.2?
These questions were answered by addressing all five stages of the model in Figure
1.2, and relating these to each other. 'Identity' refers to stage I of the model, i.e. the
speakers' gender characteristics which may be expressed in the voice.
'Representation' refers to stages II through IV of the model, which are descriptions
of the speakers' voice quality characteristics by means of acoustic measurements and
perceptual descriptions by expert phoneticians and phonetically naive listeners.
'Impression' refers to stage V of the model, which pertains to the attribution of
gendered personality traits by listeners to speakers on the basis of their voices.
The organisation of this chapter is as follows. First, in section 10.2 the main findings
are summarised for each of the data analytic chapters (chapters 3 through 9). Next,
in section 10.3 the relationships as identified in the main research questions above
are discussed: from 'identity' to 'representation', from 'identity' to 'impression', and
from 'representation' to 'impression'. The differences and similarities in these three 
relations are then discussed. The chapter ends with several concluding remarks in
section 10.4.

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