Creaky voice: an interactional resource for indexing authority




Hildebrand-Edgar, Nicole

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This project explores the social meaning potential of creaky voice using a third wave variationist approach in order to uncover what motivates speakers to deploy this vocal quality. Intraspeaker variation in the use of creak is quantitatively and qualitatively examined in case studies of one male and one female individual who come from a similar social group. In recordings from a range of casual settings, both the male and female speaker are found to use creak at similar rates, for similar purposes. However, creak is found to vary across social settings: the greater the speakers’ self-reported intimacy with their interlocutors, the lower the frequency of creak. This suggests that creaky voice is used for interactional functions, and is conditioned by conversational context. Qualitative discourse analysis of instances of creak further reveals that it has a high frequency of cooccurrence with linguistic features used for epistemic stancetaking. I suggest that creak is an interactional resource available for taking an authoritative position in interaction, especially in situations where speakers feel less intimately connected to their interlocutors.



Language Variation and Change, Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Voice Quality, Discourse Analysis