Event: Language in Context Seminar
Organisers: Language in Context
Date: Friday 27th November 2020
Venue: Zoom (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link)
Speaker: Zhaoxi Yan
Title of talk: Style shift of /s/ among men beauty vloggers on YouTube
Abstract: This paper studies the interaction between sociophonetic variant /s/ in American English and visual transformation of men beauty vloggers on YouTube. Sibilant fricative /s/ in English is a well-studied index of gender identity. Men beauty vloggers are men who apply makeup to themselves in their vlogs in order to teach makeup skills or to recommend beauty products. In their makeup tutorial videos, they usually transform from relative masculine looks to rather feminine looks. Therefore it is expected that the visual transformation would correlate with changes of their productions of /s/. This paper selects 15 sample videos of 3 vloggers and collects the Center of Gravity of their /s/. Both intra-speaker style shifts and inter-speaker differences in /s/ are found, which suggests that besides gender identity, /s/ is also related to contextualized personae building among the community of men beauty vloggers.
Speaker bio: Zhaoxi Yan is a first year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests lie in sociolinguistics; sociophonetics; language variation and change. The paper to be presented was her master’s thesis and she proposed to expand it as her PhD project.