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Performing graysexuality

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While recent work in sociophonetics has focused on the speech of gay men (Gaudio 1994; Podesva 2007; Podesva, Roberts & Campbell-Kibler 2002), lesbian women (Camp 2009; Van Borsel Vandaele & Corthals 2013), and transgender people (Zimman 2017a), the speech styles of asexual individuals remain understudied. This study analyzes an interview with a graysexual and homoromantic cisgender student at a research university in California, examining the segmental and prosodic characteristics of three voices he uses to construct and position his graysexual identity: a questioning voice, a judgmental voice, and a non-desiring voice. The analysis finds that the questioning voice is characterized by decreased speech rate, high F0, and modal phonation; the judgmental voice, by low F0; and the non-desiring voice, by low F0, narrow F0 range, low intensity, reduced gesture, flat facial expression, and a centralized vowel space. The results emphasize the importance of stylistic reticence to the construction of graysexuality.

Keywords: asexuality; constructed dialogue; prosody; sexual refusal; sociophonetics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 7, 2019

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