13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Gendered Sound Symbolism and Masking Effects in Speech Processing

Molly Babel (1,2), Grant McGuire (1,2)

(1) Department of Linguistics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(2) Department of Linguistics, University of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Sound symbolism is the non-arbitrary association of sound and meaning. Experiment 1 demonstrates that sound symbolic associations facilitate the online processing of male and female voices when the target words contain the vowels /a/ and /i/ for male and female voices, respectively, when listeners are engaged in a speeded gender identification task. Experiment 2 reveals that when listeners are attending to a vowel identification task, there is no effect of talker gender. This suggests support of models of perception where activation of linguistic structure masks indexical bottom-up information.

Index Terms: speech perception, speech processing, sound symbolism, adaptive resonance theory

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Babel, Molly / McGuire, Grant (2012): "Gendered sound symbolism and masking effects in speech processing", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 2001-2004.