Differences in adult speech: do boy-directed and girl-directed speech exist?

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Keeping, Tori L. S.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology
It has been demonstrated that boys and girls speak differently; however, the question of whether this is directly a result of the input they receive from adults is yet to be determined. Forty university students participated in a speech production study in which they were asked to read a short passage to different gendered images of babies. Acoustic analyses were conducted on their recorded speech, with measures including the centroid frequency of the sound /s/, as well as f0 and intensity. Although there were no significant findings in m1 values, f0 values were significantly different, indicating that adults greeted photos of baby boys with a higher f0. The results also suggest a trend indicating adults may greet photos of baby boys with greater intensity than girls. Although these findings were not robust, they may suggest differences in speech may exist in the ways adults converse with boys versus girls.
gendered speech production , acoustics , phonetics , child-directed speech