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Kong, Eun Jong and Jieun Kang. 2020. Gendered spectral patterns of sibilant fricatives in Seoul Korean. Studies in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology 26.1, 1-19.

The present study reports a preliminary acoustic analysis of sibilant fricatives (/s/, and /s’/) produced by young adults speaking Seoul Korean (F=17, M=15), focusing on gender-related spectral characteristics in frication noise. Fricative tokens in seven monophthong vowel contexts (/i a u o ʌ e ɨ/) were elicited word-initially and word-medially, using a picture-naming task. Acoustic patterns of spectral peak frequencies (SPFs) and variances yielded that male speakers tended to realize SPFs no lower than those of female speakers’ (except before /i/ where palatalized variants were produced), and showed greater variance in spectral energy than female speakers. These gender characteristics observed in fricative acoustics might imply that Korean male speakers tend to make fricative lingual constrictions at relatively anterior locations and in a less tight manner compared to female speakers. In understanding the Korean-specific case of gendered pronunciations, we discussed a potential role of sibilant fricative consonants as a social-indexical marker. (Korea Aerospace University and Korea University)

Keywords: Korean sibilant fricatives, spectral peak frequency, spectral moment analysis, gender difference
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