Skip to comments.'Vocal Fry' Creeping Into U.S. Speech
Posted on 12/11/2011 1:13:33 PM PST by Dallas59
A curious vocal pattern has crept into the speech of young adult women who speak American English: low, creaky vibrations, also called vocal fry. Pop singers, such as Britney Spears, slip vocal fry into their music as a way to reach low notes and add style. Now, a new study of young women in New York state shows that the same guttural vibrationonce considered a speech disorderhas become a language fad.
Vocal fry, or glottalization, is a low, staccato vibration during speech, produced by a slow fluttering of the vocal chords (listen here). Since the 1960s, vocal fry has been recognized as the lowest of the three vocal registers, which also include falsetto and modalthe usual speaking register. Speakers creak differently according to their gender, although whether it is more common in males or females varies among languages. In American English, anecdotal reports suggest that the behavior is much more common in women. (In British English, the pattern is the opposite.) Historically, continual use of vocal fry was classified as part of a voice disorder that was believed to lead to vocal chord damage. However, in recent years, researchers have noted occasional use of the creak in speakers with normal voice quality.
You can hear it at the end of each sentence.
That link features the voice of the dreadful “Powered by TellMe” robot agent at the toll-free customer service phone numbers of some major companies. It’s very grating and annoying.
I end up screaming “AGENT!” at it to dismiss it and get a real live person to speak to me.
One of my daughters does this, she sounds like a 3PPD smoker
I must be a result of the brain fried on drugs.
Our culture is devolving very fast, this is but one small symptom.
Plus maybe ridicule would help.
It’s easy to do, I find. Just go “low and slow”. Youtube has a bunch of clips about how to practice it and amplify it into a “power fry”. Lordy.
I was wondering what that was. I hear it all the time, especially among young women, and it is very annoying.
One of the most annoying things to me is a voice that constantly sounds like they need to clear their throat.
Example; Rachel Ray
You're kidding, right? That made as much sense as the calculus class I flunked in high school........
Yikes, makes me sooo glad I’m a hermit. I’ll give it a listen later. Someone was telling me on FR - Windflier! - that young men seem to be asssuming an even worse (?) vocal mannerism - an artificially high effeminate tone to their speech. I’ve never heard it (Thankfully) but maybe he’ll chime in.
Windflier, was it you who told me about this?
So the girls sound like big frogs and the boys sound like fags. What next (I DON’T want to know).
Yes, I think it was Windflier who posted that. (Howdy.)
It's gotten so rare to hear a nice baritone (or base) male voice that when I do it's like hearing music.
I have also noticed that a lot of commercials on TV (especially for SUBURU) will have a person singing in a fuzzy non professional singer kind of voice with a string instrument of some kind as the only accompaniment. I think the ads are targeted towards women who talk in the “fry voice”.
Bass not base. Argh.
I think you were supposed to listen to the sound of her voice (gravely) not what she was saying.
Yeah, but it's better than up-talking -- another female speech fad that seems to be fading away.
Not that I'm complaining about the books being free, but it's enough of
a concentration hiccup changing readers between chapters, let
alone accents and genders, but the "stylists" are really annoying.
Still a lot better than the existing stockpile of machine read stuff.
Everything old is new again.
Evolution of the “Valley Girl”.
Slightly better that the rising lilt at the end of every statement making it sound like a question?
I think that started in western Canada? I was on a ski vacation to Sunshine Village in Alberta back in the '90's and heard the residents talking like that?
Drove me fricking nuts? I mean, really?
Sounds like a gaggle of witches to me. You also hear it from the smarty pants liberal Asian college girls.
I would prefer fried fish and chips, with lashings of salt and malt vinegar.
I’ve been noticing this for a good year now. Drives me nuts. Dumb ass affectation.
Many of the science podcasts I listen to have women that talk this way. Up until now I thought they were just uneducated dorks that speak this way. For a good example, check out the “Stuff you missed in history class” podcasts at howstuffworks.com.
I think I got iiiiitttttt.......
Am I righttttt?
One day while I was out walking,
I chanced upon two women talking,
Their voices grew low,
‘Til they both sounded like Stephen Hawking.
Yeah, that was me - maybe a week or so ago.
I've been noticing that peculiar lilt among young guys for some time now. It's not all of them. Mostly the ones from major urban areas, but it's creeping beyond the borders of the big cities through mass media.
If you heard any clips of the young guys in the Occupy protests being interviewed, they almost all had that sing-songy, homo sounding accent. It's so pervasive, that I don't think they even hear it.
OMG, I hate that. I simply refuse to spend any quality time talking to a person who has that habit.
Severe ridicule may be the only cure for these stupid vocal oddities.
I’m kind of funny - I really don’t like listening to people via youtube, news clips, etc. I try to always read transcripts or articles. Because the sound of peoples’ voices sticks in my mind, I catch their emotions and consciousness in a sense, or taste it, via the sound of their voice. For instance, I’ve only heard 0bastard a very few times, and each time I shut it off very quickly.
I don’t know why I have such an abhorrance for hearing like this, my ears are very senstiive? I’m a sort of musician? I never watch movies or TV so I’m raw? I don’t know...
I knew a girl who did that when she was,,,,,, errrrr,,,, nevermind.
Maybe it’s a pseudo-intellectual reaction against “upspeak” — i.e., a way to show that you’re NOT a valley girl!
And IMHO, it’s not nearly as bad as the growing fad whereby almost every sentence starts with the word “so” — a phenomenon that probably began among the professorate and has now trickled down to recent college grads. Most of the OWS protestors seem to talk this way.
Moreover, neither of these grating habits is as awful as Billy Jeff Clinton’s old seasonal refrain, “Merry Christmas from Hillary and I!”
That girl is nearly impossible to listen to.
At the end of a sentence, she lowers a her voice and a very low raspy waver comes over the end of the last word.
Yes...low wavy raspy on the end of each word at the end of each sentence. It’s not the accent.
How did it start? Somewhere in the TV land fer shore!
You wrote: “Speaking ‘frog.’ Everything old is new again.”
Reminds me of the Marine Drill Instructors from the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, MCRD Parris Island, SC.
The 3rd Battalion DI’s had a distinctive “frog” voice unique to the Battalion. Much so, that if you encountered one of their Recruits with a “Walking Chit” who was headed for a Dental Appointment or some other appointment, an Officer or SNCO who might question his destination knew immediately from which Battalion he came when the Recruit spoke.
This trend may be part of feminism, to strip women of “feminine” voices.
When I was hitting my teens, I was lectured by more than one woman that my voice was too high, too girlish. I had to speak lower, “like a man”, to be treated as an adult and as respectable.
I lowered my voice because that is what I was told to do as an adult and to be respected. Then I scaled back my career when I had kids and received criticism that it wasn’t good enough for a woman with a college education.
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