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Our publications

Hejná, Míša, and Adèle Jatteau. 2023. “Aberystwyth English Pre-Aspiration in Apparent Time.” Proceedings of Interspeech 2023, Dublin: 3532–3536. https://doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2023-206.

Abstract: Do younger speakers of Aberystwyth English (Wales) pre-aspirate more than older ones? Previous research reports that they do, but finds a high degree of individual variation. We build on this work by enlarging the database with the inclusion of younger speakers. We confirm that pre-aspiration increases in frequency and duration in apparent time. We further investigate whether duration analyses are affected when zero duration values are excluded, that is, whether pre-aspiration is indeed longer in younger speakers, or whether it applies more frequently. We find that pre-aspiration applies obligatorily for the majority of speakers, so that excluding zero values does not affect the statistical results. Finally, we examine the interaction of pre-aspiration with pre-glottalisation, and show that pre-glottalisation tends to block the application of pre-aspiration, with individual-specific patterns. The interaction between the two is nevertheless not accounted for by age.

Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, Jens, Michaela Hejná, Mathias Clasen, and Mark Eaton. 2023. “Evil Voices in Popular Fictions: The Case of The Exorcist.” The Journal of Popular Culture 56 (2): 226–247. 

Abstract: This article theorizes evil voices in popular fictions by drawing on the theory of conceptual metaphor. We argue that voices can seem expressive of evil if they give the impression of being impure, that is, sickly, infectious, and broken. The reason is that immoral thoughts and behaviors are metaphorically conceptualized as a form of sickness, and this moral sickness finds embodied expression in a sick voice. We then apply this perspective to a case study of The Exorcist, in which we analyze the vocal performance of possessed Regan’s voice actress, Mercedes McCambridge, before ending with some general observations on the moral rhetoric of purity and sickness in fictions.

Collaboration between Aarhus University's Centre of Voice Studies and the Recreational Fear Lab.

​​​​​​Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, Jens, and Michaela Hejná. 2023. “The Voices of Game Worlds: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Disco Elysium.” Games and Culture 18 (5): 578–597. https://doi.org/10.1177/15554120221115396.

Abstract: This article examines how vocal performances of characters can contribute to sociocritical storytelling in video games. We argue that the vocal performances of video game characters–and in particular their accents–can “fill in” the fictional story worlds of video games through associations with real people and places. These associations allow video games to evoke such social themes as are connected with accent, including privilege, conflict, class, and ethnicity. So evoked, these themes can then be critically examined. We apply this perspective in a sociolinguistic analysis of Disco Elysium, an expansive role-playing game in which the characters' vocal performances come to support the player's sociomoral orientation in the game world. Finally, we discuss a result of our analysis that runs counter to previous scholarship, namely that vocal stereotyping can serve to enhance, rather than to undermine, the player's critical apprehension of game worlds.

Hejná, Míša. 2023. “I Can Be Both? (Pre-)Aspiration and (Pre-)Glottalisation Do Not Have to Be Mutually Exclusive.” Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Prague: 1875–1879. https://guarant.cz/icphs2023/215.pdf.

Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between preaspiration and pre-glottalisation, which have traditionally been seen as mutually exclusive when occurring in the same language and/or language family. Acoustic analysis of Welsh English fortis plosives and fricatives produced by 45 speakers reveals that glottalisation is less frequent (17%; n = 545) than pre-aspiration (56%; n =1846). 181 of 3306 tokens show both pre-aspiration and preglottalisation (5%). This co-occurrence takes the following forms: 1. the two happen simultaneously, in various forms of whispery/breathy/lax creak; 2. the two happen successively; 3. a combination of 1. and 2. is found. Where the two happen successively, (whispery/breathy/lax) creak typically precedes local breathiness and/or voiceless pre-aspiration. Option 1 is the most frequent in the data, with variable degrees of aspiration and glottalisation present. Whispery/breathy/lax creak emerge(s) as (a) phonatory setting(s) which can be meaningful for our understanding of subsegmental phonatory phenomena, and not only paralinguistic phenomena.

Esling, John, Allison Benner, Silvia Calamai, Chiara Celata, Lise Crevier Buchman, Míša Hejná, and Scott Moisik. 2023. “The Pedagogy of the Laryngeal Articulator Model.” Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Prague: 1725–1729. https://guarant.cz/icphs2023/185.pdf.

Abstract: The Laryngeal Articulator Model (LAM) approach to the vocal tract in speech production has emerged over the past decades as an alternative to a strictly glottolingual approach. The LAM expands explanatory power by acknowledging: 1. that the larynx is a complex articulator consisting of a network of structures; and 2. that articulations in the lower vocal tract interact with articulations in the oral vocal tract. The LAM approach to speech production is not yet widely implemented in phonetics and phonology teaching materials. The main goal of this paper is to explore the different challenges of laryngeal pedagogy in order to make it easier for scholars in the field to engage with the LAM in pedagogical contexts. To do this we present the authors’ specific experiences using the LAM in different pedagogical situations: teaching voice quality, training research/teaching assistants, writing textbooks, training speech clinicians, and modelling speech production.

Hejná, Míša, and Anna Jespersen. 2022. “Ageing Well: Social but also Biological Reasons for Age-Grading.” Language & Linguistics Compass 16 (5–6): e12450. https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12450.

Abstract: The theory of language change has worked primarily with four basic language change profiles: generational change, age-grading, communal change, and stability. This paper focuses primarily on age-grading, the process whereby each generation undergoes a specific language change at the same age-related stage within their lifespan. Despite the necessary influence of biological change on the ageing body, the explanations put forward to explain why and how age-grading occurs have been primarily social. Previous work also often relies on the study of adolescents. Following the distinction between chronological, social, and biological ageing, this study provides an overview of biological factors which may also provide explanatory power, with a focus on phonetic variation. Considering biological factors can be important in order to avoid interpreting cases of biological age-grading as (solely) social in nature, and as cases of generational change rather than age-grading.

Recent non-refereed and outreach publications


Hejná, Míša. 2023. “Some Loving and Sexy Voices.” Some Islands: A Journal of Linguistics and Art 2. https://someislands.com/Misa-Hejna.