This article reports on the relationship between the English variable (ING) and two divergent accents (Southern and gay) as they are conceptualized and given social meaning in listeners' perceptions of spontaneous speech. The study used an expanded form of the Matched Guise Technique, using recordings collected through sociolinguistic interviews with 8 speakers from North Carolina and California. Excerpts were digitally manipulated to create 32 matched pairs differing only in tokens of (ING), which were used to collect responses in group interviews (N = 55) and a Web-based experiment (N = 124). The alveolar variant -in increased the perceived strength of Southern accents and dampened an accent heard as gay and urban. The influence of (ING) on these accents is linked to shared social meanings of the alveolar form -in and Southern accents on the one hand (lack of education, the country, and the term “redneck”) and the velar variant -ing and the gay accent on the other (lowered masculinity, the city, and the term “metrosexual”). These two accents are contrasted with a third variety, heard as nonaccented and aregional. These effects demonstrate the status of the three linguistic objects, the two accents and (ING), as social objects as well.

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