“That’s What It Felt Like, ‘You’re Pathetic’”: Creaky voice, Affective Stance, and Authentication in the Speech of Lady Gaga

  • Lewis Esposito
Keywords: style shifting, intraspeaker variation, sociophonetics, indexicality, US English


This paper contributes to research on the social meaning of creaky voice in American English by offering an intraspeaker analysis of the speech of Lady Gaga, an American pop star. While pop stars have anecdotally been said to employ creaky voice extensively (Jaslow 2011), few linguists have examined the extent of their use, or what they may be using it to achieve. This study, combining statistics, discourse analysis, and media studies, argues that creaky voice has a core indexical meaning linked to “low emotional energy”, and Lady Gaga draws on this meaning to portray herself as “serious” and “downtrodden”.


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