Paper on nonbinary speech accepted to ICPHs

Jack Rechsteiner (Linguistics M.A.) and Betsy Sneller recently had a paper accepted to ICPhS (International Congress of Phonetic Sciences) for a poster presentation. The paper is titled “The impact of social information on VOT shadowing by nonbinary speakers”. The conference will be hosted in Prague, Czech Republic on August 7-11, 2023.

Congratulations, Jack and Betsy!

Jack shared more details about this paper:

The research in this paper builds upon my previous research on the sociophonetics of nonbinary speakers and offers potential insight into the role that the perception of another’s identity has on a speaker’s likelihood to phonetically converge with the other speaker. The results suggest that nonbinary participants align their speech most closely to a model talker who is explicitly identified as sharing a nonbinary identity, which we interpret as showing that participants who are in an explicitly queer virtual setting, even a very low-interaction one, converge towards a shared nonbinary speech norm.


Social information can impact the degree to which one speaker phonetically converges with another speaker. There is also evidence that nonbinary speakers alter their speech due to their social environment, specifically in environments where there is a threat of being misgendered. In this paper, we investigate whether nonbinary speakers’ convergence toward extended voice onset time (VOT) in word-initial English /p, t, k/ is impacted by whether they believe they are listening to another nonbinary speaker or to a cis speaker. We tested 15 speakers in an online VOT shadowing input-driven elicitation task, and we found that nonbinary speakers show statistically significant greater divergence away from the cis-labeled voice than in other conditions. These results suggest that the threat of being misgendered is a primary motivation for nonbinary speakers shifting their linguistic productions in differing social contexts.