Clicking behavior as a possible speaker discriminant in English

Erica Gold, Peter French, Philip Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the potential of frequency of clicking (the production of velaric ingressive stops) as a possible basis for discriminating among speakers of English by forensic phoneticians. From analyses of clicking behavior among 100 young male speakers of Standard Southern British English (SSBE) recorded in two interactional tasks, it concludes that, contrary to the view of some forensic practitioners, the majority of speakers - of this language variety at least - do not vary sufficiently from one another in their rates of clicking for this feature to serve as a reliable discriminator. Further, speakers are generally not stable in their clicking behavior, either within or across interactions, and their rates of clicking may vary through accommodation to the click rates of their interlocutors. In view of these findings, it is suggested that the mere comparison of clicking rates across questioned and known recordings is unlikely to be of assistance to forensic phoneticians in the majority of forensic speaker comparison cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-349
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Phonetic Association
Issue number3
Early online date4 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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