Acoustic Correlates of Parental Role and Gender Identity in the Speech of Expecting Parents

Melanie Weirich, Adrian P. Simpson


Differences between male and female speakers have been explained in terms of biological inevitabilities but also in terms of behavioral and socially motivated factors. The aim of this study is to investigate the latter by examining gender-specific variability within the same gender.

The speech of 29 German men and women — all of them expecting their first child but varying in the time they plan to stay at home during their child’s first year (parental role) — is analyzed. Acoustic analyses comprise the vowel space size and the realization of the inter-sibilant contrast.

While the data is part of a larger longitudinal project investigating adult- and infant-directed speech during the infant’s first year of life, this study concentrates on the recordings made before the birth of the child. Inter-speaker variability is investigated in relation to 1) the chosen parental role and 2) self-ascribed ratings on positive feminine attributes (gender identity).

Results show that both factors (planned duration of parental leave and the femininity ratings) contribute to the variability found between, but also within the same gender. In particular, the vowel space size was found to be positively correlated with self-ascribed femininity ratings in male speakers.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1394

Cite as: Weirich, M., Simpson, A.P. (2017) Acoustic Correlates of Parental Role and Gender Identity in the Speech of Expecting Parents. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 924-928, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1394.


@inproceedings{Weirich2017,
  author={Melanie Weirich and Adrian P. Simpson},
  title={Acoustic Correlates of Parental Role and Gender Identity in the Speech of Expecting Parents},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={924--928},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1394},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1394}
}