Feeling disabled: Vowel quality and assistive hearing devices in embodying affect

Tsung-Lun Alan Wan*, Lauren Hall-Lew, Claire Cowie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Previous research has proposed that phonetic variation may index affect prior to indexing other social meanings. This study explores whether the affective indexicality of vowels identified in previous studies can also be observed among deaf or hard-of-hearing speakers, in this case, speakers of Taiwan Mandarin. The results suggest that /i/ backing is invoked to signal negative affect. This study also demonstrates how assistive devices like hearing aids and cochlear implants can be considered semiotic resources. For deaf or hard-of-hearing speakers, assistive hearing devices enter into a process of bricolage with linguistic and other symbolic resources, generating new potentials for the embodiment of affect. (Affect, iconicity, Taiwan Mandarin, embodied sociolinguistics, deafness).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-97
Number of pages26
JournalLanguage in Society
Issue number1
Early online date5 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • affect
  • iconicity
  • Taiwan Mandarin
  • embodied sociolinguistics
  • deafness
  • sociolinguistics
  • phonetics
  • language variation
  • indexicality
  • sociophonetics
  • speech
  • variation


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