Gender-based sound symbolism in given names
I investigated the relationship between the phonology of given names and their gender. Correlations between phonological factors and gender may be suggestive of a sound-symbolic relationship. Previous research in this area has focused primarily on English and have found that these relationships exist (e.g. Cutler et al., 1990; MacAuley et al., 2018; Sidhu & Pexman, 2015; Slater & Feinman, 1985; Wright et al., 2005).
English and French
My M.A. research expanded on previous work by looking at French. A corpus analysis showed similar correlations between language and gender in both French and English, while a “name gendering” task showed that English-speaking listeners categorized nonce names as male or female based on both factors specific to both French and English and factors shared by the two languages. This suggests that further research into the possibility of cross-linguistic sound-gender correlations is warranted. More recent studies in other, less related languages, such as Japanese (Shinohara & Kawahara, 2013), Urdu (Mohsin, Sullivan & Kang, 2019), Cantonese (Wong & Kang, 2019) Armenian (Ananthathurai et al. ,2019) and Kutchi (Ananthathurai et al., 2019).
I am currently investigating patterns in Korean given names, as well as how English and Korean speakers use those patterns to assign gender to names.
- Sullivan, L. (2018.) The phonology of gender in French and English given names. Summer Phonology Forum 2018. University of Toronto, Toronto ON. [presentation]
- Sullivan, L. (2018.) The phonology of gender in French and English given names. Forum Paper. University of Toronto, Toronto ON. [unpublished forum paper]
- Sullivan, L. & Kang, Y. (2018.) In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne Australia 2019. (pp. 2124-2128). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. [paper] [poster]
The production-perception link in phonologically-conditioned pre-velar/æ/-raising
I investigated the relationship between production and perception in phonologically-conditioned pre-velar /æ/-raising, wherein some speakers raise /æ/ before /g/, but not /k/ (Bauer & Parker, 2008; Purnell, 2008; Wassink et al., 2009). More specifically, I tested if there is a correlation between listeners’ production of /æ/ in the pre-voiced velar context and their boundary between /æ/ and /ɛ/ across the /æ/-/ɛ/ continuum, and whether or not this boundary is phonologically conditioned by the voicing of the following velar. I also investigated if there was a correlation between individuals’ productions and their self-report data.
- Sullivan, L. (2020.) The production-perception link in phonologically-conditioned pre-velar/æ/-raising. Generals Paper 1. University of Toronto, Toronto ON. [unpublished manuscript]
- English Demonym Allomorphy – Phonological conditioning factors of the selection of -an and -ian, including formal analysis, corpus analysis and possible future experiment
- Individual Differences in Phonetic Perception – Correlation between gender, AQ score and the perception of VOT in velar, alveolar and labial stops
- Sullivan, L. (2019.) The effect of cognitive processing style on the perceptual compensation of stop voicing for place of articulation. PsyLinCS UTM Workshop 2019. University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga ON. [poster]
Ananthathurai, G., Bradford, L., Derohan, A., Galeazzi, S., Jagani, K. and Kang, Y. (2019). Sound symbolism of gender in personal names: Western Armenian and Kutchi. Summer Phonology Forum 2019. University of Toronto, Toronto ON.
Cutler, A., Mcqueen, J., & Robinson, K. (1990). Elizabeth and John, Sound Patterns of Men’s and Women’s Names. Journal of Linguistics, 26(2), 471–482.
MacAuley, L., Siddiqi, D., & Toivonen, I. (2018). The Age of Aidans: Cognitive underpinnings of a new trend in English boys’ names. Names, 1-15.
Mohsin, N., Kang Y. & Sullivan, L. (2019). Sound symbolism in Urdu first names. UTSC Undergraduate Research Poster Forum. University of Toronto Scarborough. April 2, 2019.
Shinohara, K., & Kawahara, S. (2013). The sound symbolic nature of Japanese maid names. In Proceedings of the 13th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Cognitive Linguistics Association (Vol. 13, pp. 183-193).
Sidhu, D. M., & Pexman, P. M. (2015). What’s in a Name? Sound Symbolism and Gender in First Names. PLoS ONE, 10(5), 1–22.
Slater, A. S., & Feinman, S. (1985). Gender and the Phonology of North American First Names. Sex Roles, 13, 429–440.
Wong, K. & Kang, Y. (2019). Sound symbolism of gender in Cantonese first names. In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne Australia 2019. (pp. 2129-2133). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
Wright, S. K., Hay, J., & Bent, T. (2005). Ladies first? Phonology, frequency , and the naming conspiracy. Linguistics, 43(3), 531–561.