The Surprisingly Long History of Vocal Fry

Linguist Dr. Geoff Lindsey analyzes the verbal register of vocal fry (creaky voice), noting that it’s been around for a lot longer than we actually think. In fact, though it is readily associated with women, it has been used by such male characters as James Bond (Sean Connery), Shere Khan (George Sanders), Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch), and early voices of The BBC.

But RP vocal fry wasn’t restricted to murderous types like Shere Khan and James Bond licensed to kill. It could be the voice of the BBC …The creakiest RP male I’ve heard was the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia”, C.S Lewis, who during the Second World War gave radio talks…

He also states that vocal is not endemic to young women, particularly young American women, though stereotypes make it seem so.

Given how much creaky voice the world has experienced without arousing complaint, it seems inescapable that there are elements of sexism and ageism. But what is it about this feature in particular that some people don’t like hearing from young women?

It turns out that this creaky voice, which happens to most people upon waking, puts forth a relaxed, blasé, even superior attitude that evokes rage in some.

It’s very low, whereas high pitch can signify excitement. Relaxation can be associated with being blasé, the attitude of someone who’s seen everything, has everything…Some people are bothered not by unearned authority but rather by what they perceive as immature boredom or indifference.

via Digg

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.