Effects of talker gender on dialect categorization

Cynthia G. Clopper, Brianna Conrey, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


The identification of the gender of an unfamiliar talker is an easy and automatic process for naïve adult listeners. Sociolinguistic research has consistently revealed gender differences in the production of linguistic variables. Research on the perception of dialect variation, however, has been limited almost exclusively to male talkers. In the present study, naïve participants were asked to categorize unfamiliar talkers by dialect using sentence-length utterances under three presentation conditions: male talkers only, female talkers only, and a mixed gender condition. The results revealed no significant differences in categorization performance across the three presentation conditions. However, a clustering analysis of the listeners' categorization errors revealed significant effects of talker gender on the underlying perceptual similarity spaces. The present findings suggest that naïve listeners are sensitive to gender differences in speech production and are able to use those differences to reliably categorize unfamiliar male and female talkers by dialect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-206
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005


  • Dialect categorization
  • Gender
  • Indexical properties
  • Regional dialect
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of talker gender on dialect categorization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this