Vocal fry →

Marissa Fessenden 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.

Funny enough. I have been talking a lot lately with a woman abusing the vocal fry and she is a young adult woman from, guess what, New York. I’m glad to finally have a term for this guttural vibration I now can’t stand.

To me, it sounds like a desperate way to tell the world that you’d like to be part of a very differentiated social group. My guess would be part of the media or communication industry, to look like a sort of high-class speaker or communicant. It is very obscure to me.

However, I hope this will not join the list of the new language fads. Above all, this is tiring for the listener and irritating. I do not see any interesting way of using it. It doesn’t even sound seductive, sophisticated or cultured at all.

Please leave it to the New Yorkers.

There is a good example of the vocal fry at 1 minute in this video.

(via kottke.org)