Make the Vocal Fry and Uptalk Stop!

Vocal FryVocal Fry & Uptalk (both separate items, both awful in excess) are trends taking over the younger generation by storm, and they do not help you sound more educated. They actually hurt your chances for getting the job you want, and through many studies, make you sound less trustworthy, and not as intelligent as a normal speaking counterpart. So lesson of the day, don’t do it just to do it. Be proud of your voice and who you are naturally.

What is Vocal Fry?

From Wikipedia: “The vocal fry register (also known as pulse register, laryngealisation, pulse phonation, creak, croak, popcorning, glottal fry, glottal rattle, glottal scrape, or strohbass) is the lowest vocal register and is produced through a looseglottal closure which will permit air to bubble through slowly with a popping or rattling sound of a very low frequency.[1] During this phonation, the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx are drawn together which causes the vocal folds to compress rather tightly and become relatively slack and compact. This process forms a large and irregularly vibrating mass within the vocal folds that produces the characteristic low popping or rattling sound when air passes through the glottal closure. The register (if well controlled) can extend far below the modal voice register, in some cases up to 8 octaves lower, such as in the case of Tim Storms who holds the world record for lowest frequency note ever produced by a human, a G−7, which is only 0.189 Hz. Humans however can only hear sounds down to 12 Hz under ideal conditions.”

Also from Wikipedia: “Some researchers have argued that vocal fry is a register in American English used by girls and women to give their voice more credibility, while others argue that the result is that they sound less confident, undermining the effectiveness of their communication.[3][4][5]Time reports that it hampers job interviews.[6] Others argue that these perceptions are part of a broader attack on women’s speech.[7] Although the phenomenon of vocal fry is not limited to women its use is more prevalent in women than in men. When asked to read a passage, female speakers used vocal fry at a rate four times higher than male speakers.[8] Vocal fry is generally seen as a negative characteristic in the workplace, but a study by Duke University researchers has determined this phenomenon is becoming more common and socially acceptable.[9]

What is Uptalk?

From Wikipedia: “The high rising terminal (HRT), also known as upspeak, uptalk, rising inflection, or high rising intonation (HRI), is a feature of some variants of English where declarative sentence clauses end with a rising-pitch intonation, until the end of the sentence where a falling-pitch is applied.

Empirically, one report proposes that HRT in American English and Australian English is marked by a high tone (high pitch or high fundamental frequency) beginning on the final accented syllable near the end of the statement (the terminal), and continuing to increase in frequency (up to 40%) to the end of the intonational phrase.[1] New research suggests that the actual rise can occur one or more syllables after the last accented syllable of the phrase, and its range is much more variable than previously thought.[2]

Also fromWikipedia: “Because HRT has been popularized as “Valley Girl Speak,” it has acquired an almost exclusively feminine gender connotation. Studies confirm that more women use HRT than men.[16] Linguist Thomas J. Linneman contends, “The more successful a man is, the less likely he is to use HRT; the more successful a woman is, the more likely she is to use uptalk”.[16] Though women appear to use HRT more often than men, the differences in frequency are not significant enough to brand HRT as an exclusively female speech pattern. Susan Miller, a vocal coach in Washington D.C., insists that she receives both male and female clients with equal frequency—not because either gender is concerned that they sound too feminine, but that they sound too young.[17] Susan Sankin, a New York State licensed speech pathologist, affirms that she has “now noticed in my practice that it is a conversational style that extends equally across gender, age, and socioeconomic levels. It seems that nobody is immune to this trend that has become as contagious as the common cold”.[18] Findings have thus been inconclusive regarding HRT as a gendered speech pattern, though the (partial) evidence that HRT is more common among women is consistent with the third principle of the Gender Paradox identified by sociolinguistWIlliam Labov, namely that “in linguistic change from below, women use higher frequencies of innovative forms more than men do.” Viewing HRT as “change from below” also explains why it appears to be more common among young speakers.

Despite inconclusive research, there appears to be merit to the claim that gendered connotations of HRT give rise to difficulties in the feminist sphere. Anne Charity Hudley, a linguist at the College of William & Mary, suggests, “When certain linguistic traits are tied to women … they often will be assigned a negative attribute without any actual evidence”.[19] Negative associations with the speech pattern, in combination with gendered expectations, have contributed to an implication that for female speakers to be viewed as authoritative, they ought to sound more like men than women. These implications are perpetuated by various media, including the coverage of politics. Female U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, for example, has voiced her concern that traditionally feminine speech patterns do not allow a female speaker to be taken seriously. “To meet those standards,” she says, “you have to speak less like a young girl and more like a young, aspiring professional…it’s a choice every young woman is going to have to make about how she wants to be and how she wants to be received”.[20] Feminist objections to this may take issue with the perhaps arbitrary distinction Gillibrand makes between a “young girl” and “a young, aspiring professional.” Further, the choice young women purportedly must make about how she wants to be received does not appear to be a choice young men must also make—at least not one as widely urged by authoritative figures. Lydia Dallet of Business Insider affirms this concern.[21]

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