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Comparative Study
, 27 (5), 656.e13-6

Pitch and Pitch Variation in Lesbian Women

Comparative Study

Pitch and Pitch Variation in Lesbian Women

John Van Borsel et al. J Voice.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate to what extent lesbian women demonstrate pitch and pitch variation that is different from that of heterosexual women.

Study design: Static group comparison.

Methods: The average pitch and pitch variation of a group of 34 self-identified lesbian women and an age-matched group of 68 heterosexual women were compared. The speech sample consisted of read speech. Acoustic analysis was performed by means of PRAAT.

Results: Mean fundamental frequency in the group of lesbian women was significantly lower than that of the group of heterosexual women. The lesbian woman also showed significantly less pitch variation.

Conclusions: Lesbian women tend to demonstrate a lower average pitch and less pitch variation than heterosexual women, but this does not mean a confirmation of the popular stereotype that lesbian women are masculine women. In their assessment of clients with voice disorders, clinicians should reckon with the sociophonetic variation that is associated with sexual orientation.

Keywords: Lesbian; Pitch; Pitch variation.

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