Is Zoom viable for sociophonetic research? A comparison of in-person and online recordings for sibilant analysis Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract; This study is part of a larger project investigating whether Zoom is a viable data collection method for sociophonetic research, examining whether Zoom recordings yield different acoustic measurements than in-person recordings for the exact same speech for 18 speakers. In this article we analyze five spectral measures of sibilants (peak, center of gravity, standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis) which have been shown to be conditioned by dimensions of identity like speaker gender and sexual orientation in much previous sociolinguistic research. We find that, overall, Zoom recordings yield significantly lower peak, center of gravity, and standard deviation measurements and significantly higher skewness and kurtosis values than in-person recordings for the same speech, likely due to a lower sampling rate on Zoom recordings. However, a preliminary analysis controlling for sampling rate across recording methods reveals the opposite patterns for nearly all measures, suggesting that Zoom stretches the spectral space when compared with the in-person recorder. Because the values of these measurements can lead analysts to draw social interpretations relating to a speaker’s performance of gender and sexual identity, we caution against comparing across Zoom and in-person recordings, as differences in measurements may result from the recording method used to collect the data.

publication date

  • February 22, 2022

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • January 31, 2023 1:46 AM

Full Author List

  • Calder J; Wheeler R

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2199-174X

Additional Document Info


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