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Off topic: are YOU vocal frying?
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Aug 20, 2012

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OMG! Watch this AWESOME video !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KavXB-nP0OE

Like, totally!


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János Untener  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 17:57
Member (2010)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
ships Aug 20, 2012

I saw a similar video a few months ago, and now a story comes into my mind of the native-Americans
not seeing the explorers' ships but there was a shaman who 'showed' it to them (http://www.forteantimes.com/strangedays/science/20/questioning_perceptual_blindness.html)

This video is like a shaman pointing out a speech impediment that I (we?) have never really identified,
and I remember that I even heard someone vocal frying in my language (Hungarian). Before seeing the
video I was okay with it as I did not hear it, but now ...

Tom, you should have included a disclaimer:
"You will not be able to unhear certain people's speech impediments after watching this video."

J


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Better than yappity yappity yap ... Aug 20, 2012

Thanks, Tom, interesting ...
I think "vocal fry" is an American phenomenon and seems to apply mostly to female voices. I haven't noticed it happening in the UK - I almost wish I had!
Over here, I've noticed, many young women an important part of whose jobs consists of making public announcements (TV presenters, newcasters, weather forecasters, advertisers) seem to be totally unaware of how they sound. Their voices are annoyingly high pitched and nasal - quack, quack quackity quack, yap yap yappity yap - to which I think "vocal fry" is preferable. At least it shows the speakers are aware of voice quality and are trying to do something about it - maybe unconsciously because it's fashionable over there, maybe deliberately.
Bring back RADA voice production training, say I!
J


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Weather forecasters Aug 20, 2012

Jenny Forbes wrote:

weather forecasters


Don't get me started on weather forecasters! The female ones who pucker up their noses in feigned empathy when they're announcing the arrival of slightly unpleasant weather.

The male ones who say "time to get out the windscreen scraper" when it's freezing. I shout at the TV "I haven't got a windscreen scraper, you arrogant, presumptuous b*****d! In fact I haven't even got a windscreen! I haven't got a car!". Or when they tell you that it's going to be great weather for getting out the barbecue, or for some supposedly great event of national importance, like cricket - making all sorts of assumptions about how one lives and one's interests.

Because of people like this I often miss the weather forecast.

However - returning to the topic: although glottal fry is still a problem, the dreaded AQI (Australian Question Intonation) seems to be falling into disuse (I hope).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPIeOezvLgo

[Edited at 2012-08-20 15:07 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
French to English
+ ...
Creak does occur in UK and many other languages Aug 20, 2012

Jenny Forbes wrote:
I think "vocal fry" is an American phenomenon and seems to apply mostly to female voices. I haven't noticed it happening in the UK - I almost wish I had!


It is used by UK speakers too, not necessarily in exactly the same way. Use of creak in one way or another occurs in a whole range of languages -- it isn't per say a US English (or even an English) phenomenon. Of course, there could be differences in the details of exactly what functions creak serves in different languages.

I'm curious about the claim that creak causes any medical problem, because it actually occurs linguistically in some languages -- i.e. there are languages where the actual definition of some of the sounds of those languages is that they are creaked rather than it just being a 'paralinguistic' feature as in English, French etc.

Incidentally, creak is produced by actively closing a section of the vocal folds -- I'm not sure I'd have said that lower airflow is really a *defining* characteristic.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Click Aug 20, 2012

What about the amazing African click language? I watched Julia Bradbury (very nice tone of voice indeed - no creak - no yappity-yap - top marks from me) on a walk around the coast of South Africa talking to a man who spoke that extraordinary tongue. I wonder if they have a creak phenomenon down there?

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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
French to English
+ ...
African languages Aug 20, 2012

Jenny Forbes wrote:
What about the amazing African click language? I watched Julia Bradbury (very nice tone of voice indeed - no creak - no yappity-yap - top marks from me) on a walk around the coast of South Africa talking to a man who spoke that extraordinary tongue. I wonder if they have a creak phenomenon down there?


Not quite sure what you mean by the "African click language". There are various African languages that have various different clicks. (Remember that for languages with clicks, they're not really "amazing"-- they're just boring old consonants to those languages. (Clicks aren't necessarily that 'exotic' either in terms of which languages they occur in: listen to how a French speaker says "j'ai pas de café" in rapid speech and listen carefully to the [t] sound of "de"...)

And yes, various African languages (e.g. Fula) are reported to use creak linguistically.

Point for phonetics nerds: there is a slight complication in saying that 'creak' is used linguistically, because if you consider e.g. the 'preglottalisation' that happens with final voiceless consonants in English (e.g. compare "hat" vs "had", if you're a native speaker, you'll probably find that in "hat", but not "had", your 't' is superimposed with a glottal stop), you could consider 'creak' to be a variant of this phenomenon, just that you're superimposing the consonant with a glottal stop where you don't entirely close the glottis.


[Edited at 2012-08-20 19:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-08-20 19:01 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
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Not the same thing Aug 20, 2012

Neil Coffey wrote:

Not quite sure what you mean by the "African click language".


and anyway that's quite different from the contemporary phenomenon in English (and other languages) of "Glottal Fry".

Here's more on Glottal Fry:

http://squibbage.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/creaky-voice-craze.html


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
French to English
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Yes, obviously different phenomena Aug 20, 2012

Tom in London wrote:
and anyway that's quite different from the contemporary phenomenon in English (and other languages) of "Glottal Fry".


Yes, sorry, I was really just wanting to clear up the facts, but they're clearly (entirely) different phenomena.

Returning to creak, one thing I wonder is how we really know that it's a "contemporary" phenomenon. As far as I can see, the interest in the 'sociophonetics' of creaky voice and other phenomena was sparked more or less as the instruments began to be available to investigate it.

[Edited at 2012-08-20 19:28 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
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Because..... Aug 20, 2012

Neil Coffey wrote:

one thing I wonder is how we really know that it's a "contemporary" phenomenon. As far as I can see, the interest in the 'sociophonetics' of creaky voice and other phenomena was sparked more or less as the instruments began to be available to investigate it.


All I know is: it wasn't happening before. People didn't talk like that. I have (ex)friends who used to speak perfectly normally and who suddenly started this croaking. One of them started croaking so badly on the telephone that I decided to stop talking to him. He's Italian, by the way, and was croaking in Italian; but he lives in London and perhaps that's where he picked up the idea that it's cool to croak.

In Italy, I haven't noticed any of this croaking - so far.

[Edited at 2012-08-20 20:33 GMT]


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opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:57
English to German
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Not new Aug 20, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

OMG! Watch this AWESOME video !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KavXB-nP0OE

Like, totally!


Interesting video, Tom. But personally I always knew the Tom Waits phenomenon would catch on with the masses one day ;-] He was the real precursor.

As soon as Madonna starts singing and talking like that, you know it's time to move on to the next fad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FVp2ipKEJw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l64BgFAJbs


:-]

[Edited at 2012-08-20 22:12 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-08-20 22:51 GMT]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Sorry about the "click" diversion Aug 21, 2012

Gentlemen (Tom and Neil), you're quite right. My reference to the "African click language" was quite off topic. I don't know why I brought it up. Yes, I know there are many click languages. I guess I was musing about all the sound variations the human voice/mouth/speech mechanism is capable of producing. And I wanted to pay a tribute to the admirable Ms Bradbury and show that I don't have a "down" on all female presenters!
Back to the weather forecast. Tom, because you had made me aware of vocal fry, I noticed last night that the voice of the young female weather forecaster on Spotlight South West was well and truly FRIED. Oh dear, yes, it is happening here too. I think it's an unconsciously adopted fashion and, like the Australian interrogatory intonation, will eventually shrivel and be replaced by something else.
Of course it's possible to change one's vocal tone deliberately. Consider the Iron Lady. When she first came to prominence she spoke in the high-pitched clipped tones of those wartime films (think Brief Encounter). Someone must have advised her and she soon switched to the deep, motherly (or nannyish) tones we love so well, perfectly imitated by the admirable Meryl Streep.
As to your London-based Italian friend's new creaky voice, perhaps he's started smoking 60 a day?
J


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Chacun a son goût Aug 21, 2012

I'm afraid I have to admit I find creaky voices attractive and the V. Meldrewish protestations about them trivial and curmudgeonly.

As I child in Glasgow I had the glottal stop systematically beaten out of me by my tawse-wielding teachers and nagged away by my mother - it was perceived as "common" and "not the done thing". As a result, I now take a more circumspect "live and let live" attitude to it, and can switch it on or off more or less at will. A better bit of butter.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Sounds awful Aug 21, 2012

neilmac wrote:

As I child in Glasgow I had the glottal stop systematically beaten out of me by my tawse-wielding teachers


My goodness - this sounds like a traumatic childhood !

One of the worst "glottal fry" offenders is Noam Chomsky. Which is a shame, because his work on linguistics is of great interest.

[Edited at 2012-08-21 10:25 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Well, then you'll surely love the Mayor of New York Oct 30, 2012

neilmac wrote:

I'm afraid I have to admit I find creaky voices attractive


Well, then you'll surely love Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, who has been on TV a lot recently giving creaky, Dalek-like instructions to the citizenry. If he keeps on talking like that, he'll injure his vocal cords because according to what I've read, Glottal Fry is dangerous.


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