Let’s Hear it for Vocal Fry!

December 12, 2011

If you let your voice slip down into the lower registers, it starts to buzz and creak — a speech pattern known as glottalization, or vocal fry. (Here’s what it sounds like, courtesy of ScienceNOW.) According to a small recent study, vocal fry may be on the rise, at least among young American women: when 34 college-age women were asked to read sentences for researchers, two-thirds of them exhibited the vocal pattern, particularly at the ends of sentences. (In contrast, college-age men don’t express vocal fry, according to yet-unpublished data from the research team.) Vocal fry was once considered a speech disorder, as it was thought to damage the vocal cords; now it sounds like just another linguistic trend. “Young students tend to use it when they get together,” says Nassima Abdelli-Beruh, a speech scientist at Long Island University and a co-author of the study.  “Maybe this is a social link between members of a group.” Like yeah, maybe …

 

Wolk, L., Abdelli-Beruh, N., & Slavin, D. (2011). Habitual Use of Vocal Fry in Young Adult Female Speakers Journal of Voice DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2011.04.007

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