I will show how two preadolescent girls use the quality of /o/ and of the nucleus of /ay/ to index affect. Most particularly, how they use backed and raised occurrences to express what one might generally (and inadequately) call negative affect, and fronted occurrences to express what one might call sweetness and light, or a kind of childhood innocence. It remains to be seen how this kind of variability patterns in relation to the kinds of variables we’re accustomed to studying. At this point, I intend no more than to demonstrate that this is an important area to explore.
"Affect, Sound Symbolism, and Variation,"
University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics:
2, Article 9.
Available at: http://repository.upenn.edu/pwpl/vol15/iss2/9