Sociophonetic factors of speakers’ sex differences in Voice Onset Time

A Florentine case study


  • Duccio Piccardi Dipartimento di Filologia, letteratura e linguistica. Sezione di linguistica – Università di Pisa



Gorgia enfatica, Voice Onset Time, indexical field, gender, sociophonetics


The paper shows the results of a sociophonetic analysis of the so-called gorgia enfatica (Castellani, 1960), i.e. the allophonic presence of voiceless aspirated plosives in strong positions attested in the vernacular variety of the city of Florence. 24 native speakers were involved in a production test (read speech) followed by a perceptional counterpart (matchedguise and open-ended interview). A statistically significant relationship between male speakers and longer Voice Onset Times emerged from our quantitative analysis of production. This distribution was recognized by the speakers, that evaluated the trait using comments fit for a tentative reconstruction of an indexical field (Eckert, 2008). Our data corroborate the need for a sociophonetic shift in the research methods concerning the relation between speakers’ sex and VOT production (Oh, 2011).