The current study aimed to examine the pitch characteristics of Hong Kong Cantonese-speaking lesbian women and listeners’ perception of the speakers’ sexual orientation. The first experiment examined whether the pitch patterns of lesbian females (N=15) mirror that of heterosexual women (N=20). Results indicated that while the lesbian group demonstrated a lower average pitch than the heterosexual group, the differences were not always significant on all six tones. Regarding listeners’ (N=54) perceptual judgements on the sexual orientation of the speakers, the perceived rating of homosexuality showed robust differences between the two groups, suggesting that listeners’ accurate judgment on sexual orientation of lesbian women may depend on acoustic cues other than pitch. The present findings were only partially in line with previous research in which pitch serves as a means to convey one’s sexual orientation.
Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences ICPhS 2019, pp.2705-2709