Thursday, December 15, 2011


A new study by scientists at Long Island University investigated the prevalence of vocal fry in college-age women.  If you're asking yourself what "vocal fry" is, you're not alone. 

According to --

"Vocal fry, or glottalization, is a low, staccato vibration during speech, produced by a slow fluttering of the vocal cords. Since the 1960s, vocal fry has been recognized as the lowest of the three vocal registers, which also include falsetto and modal—the 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 cord damage. However, in recent years, researchers have noted occasional use of the creak in speakers with normal voice quality."

Still confused?

Listen to this clip of Kesha. When she speaks, her sentences drop off into a creak.  That
creak is vocal fry.  This speech pattern -- once thought to be a speech defect -- now has become a trend among college women.

Kim Kardashian fries often.


Zooey Deschanel has been known to fry a little. 

Now, that you know what it is, you will probably hear it more and more while out in public. 

If you don't understand why woman are choosing to speak and sound like Kesha, Zooey and Kim K, there are a few theories bouncing around out there. The most popular theory is that this vocalization style is a way for women to project a more powerful presence. The reason for this, is that vocal fry has historically been associated with men. The low creaking trail at the end of sentences is a guy thing.

And now, women want it.

Consciously? I don't think so. I think, moreover, it's a side effect of the ever changing gender roles inhabited by society. Men are more sensitive, more vain and particular about their appearance. Women are more masculine, sporting large visible tattoos and less concerned about the old ideals of what it means to be feminine.

Hopefully, this creaky voice trend will come and go quickly, but I'd rather have vocal fry than stirrup pants.  That was a truly awful period in fashion history.



Post a Comment