Friday, July 24, 2015

The two Laurens and vocal fry

A while back I accidentally discovered the curious case of vocal fry, a unique vocal affectation which is common to most American (and apparently only American) women.
As I noted, it has affected my listening habits, especially radio listening, as I now eagerly await the throaty sentence ending staccato of the affectation.
This morning, WAMU's Lauren Ober (the very talented reporter for Metro Connection) was in full swing (in a really interesting report on swimming and DC African-American kids) with what I've now catalogued as partial vocal fry. That is when about a third of the sentences are delivered in a "normal" voice and the rest have the characteristic feline vocal fry ending.
Then Lauren Landau came on with an Art Beat report (I wish that they'd just let Ms. Landau talk and get rid of the annoying background 1960s beatnik-type music). Landau has a very elegant, soothing voice, but even she dives into vocal fry land once in a while - maybe in a third of her sentences - which is also interesting in that some women are 100% vocal fried, while others, such as Ms. Landau, seem to be able to float in and out of it.

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