Variation in Evaluations of Gendered Voices: Individual Speakers Condition the Variant Frequency Effect

Amelia Stecker*, Annette D’Onofrio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Listeners are sensitive to the frequency at which speakers produce sociolinguistic features in utterances, reflected in their social evaluations of those speakers. Previous work also illustrates that a speaker’s perceived gender can influence how their linguistic production is processed, perceived, and discussed. However, little is known about how speaker gender can shape the effect of variant frequency on social evaluations. Employing the sociolinguistic variable ING, a matched-guise task was conducted to compare listeners’ evaluations of ten speakers producing varying proportions ING’s variants, investigating whether listeners evaluate men and women differently for using -in at the same rates of production. Findings show that speakers’ greater usage of the -in variant yields more negative evaluations from listeners, but this trend did not differ between different speaker genders. Rather, differences in evaluations of individual speakers persist across and within gendered categories, bearing implications for notions of binary gender and single-speaker matched-guise paradigms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-314
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of English Linguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • ING
  • gender
  • matched-guise task
  • social evaluations
  • sociolinguistic monitor
  • sociolinguistic perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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