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Science

'Vocal Fry' Creeping Into US Speech 331

Posted by timothy
from the how-totally-bizarre dept.
sciencehabit writes "A curious vocal pattern has crept into the speech of young adult women who speak American English: low, creaky vibrations, also called vocal fry. Pop singers, such as Britney Spears, slip vocal fry into their music as a way to reach low notes and add style. Now, a new study of young women in New York state shows that the same guttural vibration — once considered a speech disorder — has become a language fad."
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'Vocal Fry' Creeping Into US Speech

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  • Nothing new (Score:2, Insightful)

    Language changes over time. It always has, it always will. Of course the old people will always be grumpy how current generation of kids can't behave or talk correctly. They always have, they always will.
    • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kelson (129150) * on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:45AM (#38325180) Homepage Journal

      The article isn't about old people being grumpy about the change, or about change in general. The article is about the change itself.

      "Language changes" isn't new, but "This language is changing in this way" is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My only complaint is that "vocal fry" is a stupid name for it. It is very obviously a croak, and people have been doing it for generations.

    • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drooling-dog (189103) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:59AM (#38325256)

      And there will always be touchy, defensive people of all ages who perceive criticism behind every simple observation.

      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @11:16AM (#38326396) Homepage Journal

        I once worked with an Arab guy who grew up in the USA who went back to Bahrain for a year during high school. He went to an exclusive public school, and when his British educated teacher had him stand to read Shakespeare, after the teacher heard a few lines the teacher ordered him to sit down, saying, "your accent is offensive to my ears."

        The irony is that while North American and British English have diverged over the centuries, the accent in North America has changed far less, and thus remains closer to how Elizabethan English would have been spoken. In the eighteenth century, visitors to the American colonies remarked on how "correctly" English was spoken by all classes, even slaves. In the early 19th centuries the shifts in pronunciation which characterize "correct" ("Oxford" or "received") pronunciation were decried by language purists in England.

        I once read a complaint by an English reviewer of George C. Scott's performance as Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol". The reviewer was put off by Scott's American accent. However if we take the story to occur around 1840, and Scrooge to be about 60 and not a native Londoner, the difference between Scrooge's accent and that of younger characters like Bob Cratchit would have been rather accurate.

        • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @11:45AM (#38326714)

          This. More specifically, I have heard that the "Southern Bell" accent is the closest accent to the original, proper 18th century English, and that "ain't" was a desirable word by the upper class.

          For those not familiar, the Southern Bell accent is the kind of accent you might here from upper class white folk in the Deep South. It's almost gone, now, but maybe still exists sparsely. Most commonly, you hear it in movies set in the old South.

          • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @12:03PM (#38326934)

            I recall reading a piece by Michael Montgomery (the linguistics professor, not the football player) explaining that this has never actually been true.

            I believe it was in a book called "Language Myths", an interesting read if you're into that sort of thing.

            Disclaimer: IANALA (I am not a linguistic anthropologist)

        • by xaxa (988988)

          I once worked with an Arab guy who grew up in the USA who went back to Bahrain for a year during high school. He went to an exclusive public school, and when his British educated teacher had him stand to read Shakespeare, after the teacher heard a few lines the teacher ordered him to sit down, saying, "your accent is offensive to my ears."

          Some American accents really do irritate some British people.

          It's one particular American accent. The closest I can find on Youtube is this girl [youtube.com]. The annoying bit is that the last word of every phrase is drawn out. "Hey everybody----, it's Winifred------, [can't understand] make this video for her-----, [...] I thought it was like perfect----, 'cause, she was like----, ...".

          That teacher sounds awful though. I would never ask someone to stop talking because of their accent (unless I can't understand). Tha

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PPH (736903)

          The irony is that while North American and British English have diverged over the centuries, the accent in North America has changed far less, and thus remains closer to how Elizabethan English would have been spoken.

          I've heard both sides of this argument. And since there's no way of comparing today's speech to that spoken in Elizabethan England, that may never be settled.

          But what we can do is to compare today's British and American speech patterns to those from the dawn of the sound recording age. Now, I can't speak for the British, but American accents have changed drastically. So unless something pulled our (American) accents back towards those of 17th century Britain, it doesn't seem likely.

          To confuse the issue fu

          • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

            by hey! (33014) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @02:50PM (#38328794) Homepage Journal

            This isn't like speculating on the transition between Middle English and modern English. That happened in an era before printing or widespread literacy, and surviving documents from the 15th C are extremely rare. The split between British and American pronunciation started in the mid 1700s and went on through the mid 1800s. We have tons of evidence from the writings of contemporary observers about when and how the changes took place. I actually think that this evidence is *stronger* than the evidence from the early days of recording, since you had to speak in an unnatural cadence and loudness to be heard clearly, and it is highly likely that the pronunciation used was affected and exaggerated. I doubt Teddy Roosevelt talked to his family the way he sounds on recordings. Barack Obama sounds quite different giving a speech than giving an interview, so if you used his recorded speeches as evidence of how Americans normally talk you'd be led astray.

            So what were the complaints of the language purists of the early 1800s? Young Lord Byron was castigated by older critics for making rhymes that are now quite valid in modern RP but not in American English. Educated Britons complained of the loss of syllables in "necessary" and "secretary" ("neces-sree" and "secre-tree"), characterizing it as sloppy, lower-class speech. This process of the sloppy becoming the gold standard is still going on today. I suspect that in a hundred years' time Estuary English will supplant the Oxford/BBC/Received Pronunciation as the "correct" dialect.

            As for Shakespeare, one can use evidence like rhyme choices, but English poets of yore were rather loose with their interpretation of rhyme. I think it's fairly safe to say that nobody is walking around speaking *exactly* the dialect of 17th C. London. Both Standard American English and RP share a common root in 18th C. English, but RP is more different from the common ancestor dialect than SAE. Nonetheless it's a fair guess that both dialects would sound strange in Elizabethan ears.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Paul1969 (1976328)

          This is typical of all emigrant populations. They tend to "freeze" their language in the form it had at the time of the main emigration. Thus Canadian French is very close to Seventeenth Century European French.
          Personal note: My family is of Finnish descent. All 4 grandparents were immigrants to the US. My parents are both fluent in the language of the "Old Country." I can only say a few basic phrases, but my kid sister made the effort to pick up a fair amount from our parents.
          When she made a trip to Finlan

      • by datavirtue (1104259) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @03:20PM (#38329104)

        People? I thought it was only my wife.

    • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wanzeo (1800058) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:03AM (#38325284)

      Yup. This is why it seems like a waste of time to obsess over "proper" English. Words are like clothes, you mix and match and there isn't any right answer.

      As for the article, I have easily noticed this in well over 34 women at my college, but only in a certain subset of people. Namely, those who want to sound like pop singers. It's the same class of people who tan. So I have my doubts about it creeping into American English in general.

      Also, who scanned the article and thought, "Futurama is influencing American speech!?"

      • It's much the same in the UK - a croaky "smoked 40 Marlboro Lights in the VIP area of my local club" voice is trendy at the moment for whatever reason. Seems to go hand in hand with fake tan, too much make-up and an obsession with reality TV and "celebrity".
        • by Slashdot Assistant (2336034) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:55AM (#38325658)
          Yeah, and well rehearsed "duck face" poses used whenever a camera comes out. Really, if this becomes the common theme for women, I'd be hanging on to heterosexuality by my finger nails.
          • by asdf7890 (1518587)
            Don't switch sides over this as it isn't just women: a similar proportion of gay men appear to be guilty of these things too.
          • by fractoid (1076465)
            You might want to talk to the women who are currently bemoaning the preponderance of emo and metro 'men' hoping to become girlfriends-with-a-penis. Gender roles are being shaken up all over the joint.
            • Re:Nothing new (Score:4, Insightful)

              by TWX (665546) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:59AM (#38326222)

              You might want to talk to the women who are currently bemoaning the preponderance of emo and metro 'men' hoping to become girlfriends-with-a-penis. Gender roles are being shaken up all over the joint.

              If anything, among the privileged of the world, the lack of feminism in male attire was the exception for awhile, rather than the rule. Womens' high fashion was based around clothing that was designed for form instead of function, and definitely fails at allowing women to work while wearing it. Privileged mens' fashion followed a similar pattern with hosiery, ornamentation, even high heels, until within the last couple-hundred years, when it switched to what we attribute as business attire. Womens' clothing everyday clothing evolved into ornamentation on semi-practical clothing, and now some mens' fashion is following suit.

              It's actually been this way for some time though. Look at the disco attire of the seventies- that certainly was not a masculine way to dress.

      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fractoid (1076465) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:46AM (#38326108) Homepage
        There was an eloquent and impassioned talk given by Stephen Fry (in fact, one could argue it was Vocal, by Fry) that discussed this very thing. Here it is. [youtube.com] It's one of the few things that's transcended the "that's nice" and "oh, cool" barriers and actually changed the way I think about language. Anyone I work with can attest to the fact that I no longer correct "less problems" to "fewer", or "should of" to "should have".
      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

        by couchslug (175151) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @11:13AM (#38326368)

        "Yup. This is why it seems like a waste of time to obsess over "proper" English. Words are like clothes, you mix and match and there isn't any right answer."

        I don't obsess over it, but exceptionally sloppy speech is not a plus during job interviews. The purpose of speech is to communicate, and if you can only speak "trailer" or "ghetto" then I'll place you (or not) appropriately.

        It's fine to be able to SWITCH between speaking styles to suit your audience. That's different than having an accent that's a self-inflicted speech impediment.

      • Yes, "obsessing" is overreaction. However, there is value in there being an established baseline of what is "correct". That baseline will change over time, but if some effort is not made to maintain it, it will become difficult for people from different areas and economic classes to communicate. One of the things that facilitated the traditional economic mobility of the U.S. was the fact that our schools taught everyone to follow the same rules of speech and writing. For the most part, those who failed to l
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by smisle (1640863)

        Words are like clothes, you mix and match and there isn't any right answer.

        Yup, but, just as with clothes, there are certainly WRONG answers

    • The vocal fry is common amungst men public speakers for years. The movie trailer guys, or political comerical. Think when a GOP comerical says "Liberal Allies".
      It come to reason women will take more of the men's speaking pattern as they become more common in public speaking.
    • Language changes over time. It always has, it always will. Of course the old people will always be grumpy how current generation of kids can't behave or talk correctly. They always have, they always will.

      I agree, a language is whatever it's users are doing, so it can't help but change over time... don't know if I'd call it "evolving" as some do. To me if a language is evolving it would become better at conveying better specific meaning with fewer, simpler phonemes. I think we tend to do the opposite, and like, totally crap up the information with, like, things that are SOooo useless. Old people are grumpy about the fact that someone else is young and they are not.
      Someone else is getting laid, and they are

    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      Singers are musicians, using their voice as their instrument. The basis of any display of musical talent is ones ability to control their instrument. When they have such a warble in their voice, when they can't hold a god damned note, they are showing themselves to be nothing more than a rank amateur. If they are intentionally adding a warble to their voice, out of some misguided belief that the variation in their voice makes them sound better or more emotional, then they are a lost cause.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CrankinOut (629561)

      Actually, you know, I was, like, reading your note when, um, I realized, you know, that you confused vocal patterns with, like, language, you know what I mean.

  • by TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:37AM (#38325126)
    It's early in the morning. I just woke up, so my sarcasm glands need emptying. Just what we need, millions of girls who sound like Britney Spears. There.
    • by Gr8Apes (679165)

      Out of all the "celebrities" that one could imitate, why pick one that can barely talk, much less sing? Should, through some cosmic sense of humor, I ever interview anyone like this, the interview would effectively be over within seconds.Our teams do not need to add affected speech to raise yet more barriers to communications.

    • by sFurbo (1361249)
      So, if your sarcasm gland needed emptying, it WAS just what you needed. Which means that your comment wasn't sarcasm. But then it wasn't just what you needed, so it must have been sarcasm. Are you by any chance from descended from Cretans?
  • vocal Fry? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zill (1690130) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:40AM (#38325138)

    vocal fry

    I came in expecting an article about the Fry's "shut up and take my money" meme. Boy was I disappointed.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:41AM (#38325154) Homepage Journal

    Surely on a college campus, you can find more than 34 females to do a study on? I would imagine they spent 10-20 times the amount of time writing about their "findings" than they did surveying for data. Is this normal? A study like this wouldn't be terribly time consuming; I would hope for a sample of at least 100 samples, preferably from more than one region (cities/metro areas like London have at least 7 distinct dialects).
     
    It's interesting (I can think of at least two people I know who do this vocal fry) but such a small sample size seems like a poor subject to waste time writing a paper on without doing another hour's worth of research.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:14AM (#38325350)
      With 34 subjects the error in the confidence interval for the proportion is roughly +/- 0.17. They had about 2/3 of their subjects use this vocal pattern. Seems like they can claim that the lower bound is 49% which may be all they needed to make their point. Plus they had to have two speech experts evaluate each sample. It may not be so easy to just sit and listen for a couple of minutes to make a consistent decision as to whether or not the subjects were regularly using this vocal pattern in their speech habits.

      As for the backgrounds of the students they do not provide a geographical range in the article. It is not in the abstract of the paper either. Without reading the paper it is not clear what kind of backgrounds the students came from. If they all came from the same college then that is a bigger issue than the sample size and is clearly not a "random sample."

      • With 34 subjects the error in the confidence interval for the proportion is roughly +/- 0.17. They had about 2/3 of their subjects use this vocal pattern. Seems like they can claim that the lower bound is 49% which may be all they needed to make their point.

        There is a highly unwarranted assumption here that the proportion sought is constant across the whole US population.

        So this argument is really saying: if the trend occurs in the exact same proportion everywhere among all females in the US, th

    • Yes it is normal, 34 people are far more then enough to get statistically significant results that are almost identically significant to 100.

      • As a fellow /.er has posted above, this statement works if the error is purely statistical, that is to say no significant contribution of systematic bias.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)
        True, if you take a 70% larger confidence interval to be "almost identically significant" (not counting the "far more than").
    • Well, there are rules about this sort of thing...

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        You win the prize for "low content post of the day" and it's not even lunch time yet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Believe it or not, there is an entire field of study called "statistics" that can be used to assess whether a difference of a certain magnitude is real given a sample of a certain size. And, as a phonetician myself, I can tell you that performing these kinds of measurements on speech recordings in a rigorous, controlled, and reproducible way can take a fair amount of time. Finally, they probably did run more than 34 subjects, but had to throw out various subjects who were not native speakers or were male or
    • Surely on a college campus, you can find more than 34 females to do a study on?

      Come on guys, no one took the bait on this one?

    • by Surt (22457)

      Small studies typically aim to have about 20 samples. Below 20 it gets much less likely that you'll have a significant finding. Going higher requires more work, which means more funding. Who is going to sink big money into research on vocal patterns? If this is something you are interested in, you have to squeeze it into a pretty tight budget.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)
        Plus, it is a fine size for a first study, to refine the hypothesis a larger study is going to test, and to demonstrate that the larger study will likely not be a waste of time, thus making funding the larger study easier.
        • by sFurbo (1361249)
          Sorry about the autoreply, I of course meant preliminary study in stead of first study.
    • by PPH (736903)

      Surely on a college campus, you can find more than 34 females to do a study on?

      Who's first language isn't Mandarin? I doubt it.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:42AM (#38325158) Homepage

    Next we'll be hearing autotune in everyday speech.

    • Re:coming up next (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:32AM (#38325506) Homepage

      Next we'll be hearing autotune in everyday speech.

      Er, I'm not sure that I'd dismiss that possibility *entirely* out of hand. (*) While I'm not sure how Autotune (**) would translate to speech- since it's used for *singing*- the same could be said for this supposed "vocal fry", which started out as a singing technique, and I'm not sure how *that* got transferred to speech. Autotune is pretty damn common, so really, if vocal fry can make the jump, we shouldn't dismiss that Autotune might have *some* effect on speech, even if it's hindered by the fact that most people don't have a box of digital electronics in their voicebox. :-)

      Anyway, as for this "vocal fry's" *singing* origins- having checked out what they mean via YouTube- IMHO it sounds less like "a way to reach low notes" and more like what has *always* happened when people *can't* reach those low notes properly, i.e. "it's not shitty singing, it's a vocal technique".... Yeah, right!

      Not sure if I have any opinion about vocal fry as a speech pattern, as I haven't heard enough of it to figure out if it's an annoying affectation, just part of the natural mutation of language... or both. ;-)

      (*) Then again, what do I know. While I don't- or didn't- hate Autotune misuse (**) per se, as an interesting technique in itself (I've heard some quite good examples), my problem is its overuse *everywhere*. I got bored of it ages ago, and predicted the fad would have died at least a year ago now. Since this clearly hasn't happened, I've also considered the possibility that it may indicate a permanent change in music tastes- and, as if sods' law wanted to prove how out of touch I am- it will probably turn out to be a fad that goes massively out of fashion at some point after all. Or not- as I said, what do I know, I'm way too old for chart music anyway. :-)

      (**) As opposed to the original intended purpose of Autotune, which was to simply correct imperfections in singing. Ironically when people talk about "Autotune" now, it's usually to mean the deliberate misuse/overuse of it for effect- and not simple correction- because the latter is so prevalent (and the former should not stand out if done correctly).

      • Given how autotune technology is advancing both in capabilities and ease of use, this would be quite possible. Not for everyday use - it's hardly practical to carry around an audio rig everywhere - but for public speeches, television appearances, things like that. Perhaps the US President of 2024 will make his inaugral speech though a voice processor that corrects any momentary stalls, stammers or mispronounciations to ensure he sounds absolutly perfect - and even alters his accent to that which his campaig
        • by Teun (17872)
          Or some middle-eastern men would be still alive had they understood they were meant when he talked about killing terrists [panoramio.com].
      • In some languages, vocal fry is already phonemic [wikipedia.org], and the same sounds said with or without it are heard as different words.
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      If there's not an app for that, there damn well should be!
  • by Ice Station Zebra (18124) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:46AM (#38325184) Homepage Journal

    Brushing their teeth with a bottle of Jack?

    • by odirex (1958302) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:56AM (#38326198)
      Absolutely. 'Vocal fry' is a lazy/relaxed way of using the vocal cords. When you have a hang-over or smoked a ton of weed the night before, you'll almost always talk that way in the morning. I'm a singer and in all my training I've heard vocal fry is actually good for you to relax the vocal cords. TFA's statement that"Chances of vocal damage are very minimal" implies that there is a chance when there is none at all.
  • This too shall pass. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by olsmeister (1488789) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:47AM (#38325196)
    Remember the 'valley girl' speech pattern of the 80's? You don't really hear that much anymore. Humans of a common demographic need things like this to identify with each other and distinguish themselves from other groups. It's part of our social nature.
    • Yeah, like the Spanish lisp, it'll be gone in no time.

      Oh, wait...

    • by Tink2000 (524407) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @11:31AM (#38326544) Homepage Journal

      >You don't really hear that much anymore.

      You obviously do not live in a predominately college town. Here in Blacksburg we have a permanent population of around 15,000 and a student population of 35,000. For nine months out of the year, I marvel at how Frank Zappa has pulled off the longest troll in the history of music -- spreading that god-awful dialect all the way out East so that even 30 years after the song, I'm surrounded by what started as an attempt of a daughter to cozy up to her dad by making fun of stupid people from Encino.

      If the girls talk like airheads, then the guys here talk like wanna-be thugs. Even at an engineering school, I am subjected daily to "Yeah, but uh, y'know I was like... whaaaaaaat?" But that's a whole other topic. First, let's get rid of the word "like". I am convinced that this generation is so disaffected and removed from everything that nothing is real to them anymore. They don't want a cup of coffee; they ask "can I just get like, a cup of coffee?" They didn't go see the movie 3 times, they saw it "like, 3 times". Nothing is real or concrete to them.

      • by wasme (35127) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @12:37PM (#38327300)

        If the girls talk like airheads, then the guys here talk like wanna-be thugs. Even at an engineering school, I am subjected daily to "Yeah, but uh, y'know I was like... whaaaaaaat?" But that's a whole other topic. First, let's get rid of the word "like". I am convinced that this generation is so disaffected and removed from everything that nothing is real to them anymore. They don't want a cup of coffee; they ask "can I just get like, a cup of coffee?" They didn't go see the movie 3 times, they saw it "like, 3 times". Nothing is real or concrete to them.

        This is not what you think it does. In this context 'like' is being used as a 'filler' [wikipedia.org]. The 'filler like' itself has no meaning, but in a place holder for a pause. Similar to other 'words' such as 'uh' or 'hmm' or 'er'. It does not mean necessarily 'nearly' or 'almost' - although it could mean that too, it depends on context.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <muitnias>> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:51AM (#38325220)

    Britney Spears got mentioned on /. because of her voice?

    • Britney Spears got mentioned on /. because of her voice?

      Only because of her voice coaching. They make it sound almost like she came up with the technique, next they will have us believe this performing monkey actually programmes the synths and writes her own music.

    • by Surt (22457)

      Her voice has a lot to do with her throat. How do you imagine she developed this skill? How do you want to imagine she developed this skill?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:51AM (#38325222)

    Marge Simpson did it first

  • ...people on Long Island talk funny. I know this, because my wife has been telling me that for years. Now that I haven't lived on LI for quite some time, whenever I speak with my family back home I can hear it. Everyone on that island needs speech therapy, not just the college girls.
  • Are we absolutely certain that this effect is not an artifact of Auto-tune?

    I have heard kids on the street doing a remarkable mimic of T-Pain.

  • by Barryke (772876) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:09AM (#38325308) Homepage

    When i hear the example voice ( http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/vocalfryshort.mp3 [sciencemag.org] ) speak -prior to their example- i hear the same sound in her normal speech. Note the R / H usage:

    registeRRRRRs.
    piCHHHHHes.
    tHis.

    I know some would call this just pronouncing part of a word, but i clearly hear the same exact thing, and also, if i (as an euopean) try to pronounce these words with those sounds, i only succeed when i "vocal fry" as heared in the example.

    I find these URRRRRR sounds in the middle of words make people sound not so smart (ppl that rather be lazy / hippies) just like how the french sound as if they can't find their words with their constant EUGHHHHHH groan in spoken language.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      I don't know, but I think the woman in the clip is referring to the sort of clicking, two-stroke engine like sound that she makes at the end. I don't hear any of that when she speaks normally. Her R:s sound nice and clean.

      I occasionally use that sound and I've always assumed that it signals "I'm too lazy/tired/drunk/confused to think properly about what you just said", so you associating it with laziness makes sense, although it could also mean that the person you're speaking with thinks that you're confusi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:15AM (#38325362)

    Now if only they learn to sing like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwANedEkqaY

  • News at 11! Young people alter their behaviour to follow the fashions led by pop stars! Shocking news....

  • by ajlitt (19055) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:30AM (#38325490)

    Why not Zoidberg?

  • I've been speaking in the lowest register I can for years. It started after a bad day in the school choir followed by laryngitis, and I found that speaking with a 'fry' allowed me to speak when every other range was still sore and painful. It also got rid of my horrid Appalachia accent.

    Oh well, can't be seen to imitate pop stars, guess I have to speak in my normal range for a while til this fad passes. That should surprise/scare a few people.

  • What's really cool is to go so low you can almost count the individual pops!

  • This is new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by haltline (125737) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:10AM (#38325760)

    I'm 53, I remember girls that sounded like this all my life. And I can jokingly say "For an example of vocal fry head on down to the casino and find an old lady by a slot machine". So, my personal life experience tells me there's nothing new here.

    Concerning the comments about people not using proper English: What is important is that words are used properly, that their meanings preserved so that communication can be meaningful. Confucius covered this long ago, [thinkexist.com]

    And, yeah, I was hoping for Futurama Fry too :)

  • I, and everyone I know have been doing this forever. Just say "Umm" and there you go. It probably goes back 100 years or more.
  • They can always become Airline Pilots with that kind of voice...

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, uh-uh-uh-h-h-h-h-h-h.
    we're waiting for final clearance, uh-uh-uh-h-h-h-h-h,
    before we taxi to the runway, uh-uh-uh-h-h-h-h-h....."

  • "Throat creak" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kalvos (137750) <bathory@maltedmedia.com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:32AM (#38325954) Homepage
    This was identified, defined and named as "throat creak" on alt.usage.english at least 10 years ago, including its first appearance in television commercials of the day.
  • I wonder if this has anything to do with smoking rather than simple speak patterns. According to Wikipedia, approximately 30% of college students smoke. Most smokers I know have "fry" speech patterns. At the back of my mind I seem to remember that smoking was increasing among women, but I could be wrong as I can't find any recent studies with a quick Google search.

  • Erica Cerra (Deputy Jo Lupo) has been doing this more and more on Eureka and calls it "acting". I find it extremely aggravating. She sounds like she had throat surgery that went terribly wrong. I wonder how many google searches there have been for "erica cerra throat cancer"...

  • Lately I've started hearing this a lot: - the oo sound like in moo is becoming the dipthong ee-oo, or maybe y-oo. Now some words were always 50-50 on this ie - "tune" is sometimes t-oo-n and sometime t-y-oo-n. It just lately that it seems to be creeping into all sorts of words that were only oo sounds before. The most common one is the name of the city, Van-key-oo-ver.

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