An examination of creaky voice occurring in natural conversations among relatively young educated American and Japanese speakers revealed that female speakers of American English residing in California employed creaky voice much more frequently than comparable American male and Japanese female speakers. Previously, creaky voice was interpreted as a voice quality of masculinity or authority. Moreover, a matched-guise perception survey indicates that college-age Americans residing in two contrasting regions, northern California and eastern Iowa, perceive female creaky voice as hesitant, nonaggressive, and informal but also educated, urban-oriented, and upwardly mobile. The sociocultural meanings indexed through this voice quality may have been reinterpreted recently as a new type of female voice in America. In addition, these American listeners reported frequent creaky voice usage by women in both regions. Creaky voice as a new type of female voice quality may also be becoming a conspicuous part of relatively young American women's unconscious (linguistic) performance. This investigation constitutes an exploratory study that stimulates and encourages new research on sociocultural usage of female creaky voice from various perspectives.

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