30th November 2018, Volume 131 Number 1486

Jeremy Hornibrook, Tika Ormond, Margaret Maclagan

Vocal fry or creaky voice is a type of voice production that seems to be becoming more prevalent and more popular within New Zealand, particularly among young women who apparently…

Subscriber content

The full contents of this page is only available to subscribers.

To view this content please login or subscribe

Summary

Vocal fry or creaky voice is a lowered rough voice sound that is volitional and is becoming a common vocal style in some New Zealand young women. Voice laboratory studies conclude that as marriage partners, men prefer women with higher voices. Paradoxically, both men and women rate lower voices in women as sounding more authoritative. Online surveys reveal negative public perceptions of vocal fry in young women. Middle-class young women lead language change in new word expressions and speech sound changes. Their increasing prevalence of extreme vocal fry may be an equivalent voice phenomenon or fashion.

Abstract

An extreme use of a voice feature with a lowered rough sound called vocal fry or creaky voice has become increasingly recognised in American, British and New Zealand English speaking young women. It is not regarded as an involuntary voice disorder, but rather as a volitional strategy. Intermittent vocal fry is recognised as a common voice feature, particularly at the end of a sentence. It occurs at the lowest range of a speaker’s F0 (pitch). We present evidence that vocal fry use is increasing in young New Zealand women. This article is to highlight the new phenomenon of extreme and sustained vocal fry as a vocal style, which is the first voice feature to have come to the attention of the general public through the news media.

Author Information

Jeremy Hornibrook, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Christchurch Hospital; Retired Adjunct Professor in Communication Disorders at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch; Tika Ormond, Clinical Educator/Speech Language Therapist in Communication Disorders at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch; Margaret Maclagan, Retired Adjunct Professor in Communication Disorders at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

Acknowledgements

We thank the members of the New Zealand English classes at the University of Canterbury who collected and transcribed the data for the Canterbury Corpus. We also thank Dr Boyd Davis and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier version of this Viewpoint article.

Correspondence

Prof Jeremy Hornibrook, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Christchurch Hospital, 2 Riccarton Avenue, Christchurch 8011.

Correspondence Email

jeremy@jhornibrook.com

Competing Interests

Nil.

References

  1. Hollien H, Moore P, Wendahl RW, Michel JF. On the nature of vocal fry. J Speech Hear Res. 1966; 9:245–247.
  2. Wolk L, Abdelii-Beruh NB, Slain D. Habitual use of vocal fry in young adult female speakers. J Voice. 2012; 26:e111–e116.
  3. Oliveira G, Davidson A, Holczer R, Kaplan S, Paretsky A. A comparison of the use of glottal fry in the spontaneous speech of young and middle-aged young women. J Voice. 2016; 30:684–687.
  4. Cantor-Cutiva C, Bottalico P, Hunter E. Factors associated with vocal fry among college students. Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology. 2018; 43:73–79.
  5. Szakay A. Voice quality as a marker of ethnicity in New Zealand: From acoustics to perception. J Socioling. 2012; 16(3):382–397. 
  6. Yuasa IP. Creaky voice: a new feminine voice quality for young urban-orientated upwardly mobile American women? Am Speech. 2010; 85:315–317. 
  7. Borrie SA, Delfino CR. Conversational entrainment of vocal fry in young adult female American English speakers. J Voice. 2017; 31:513.e25–513.e32
  8. Anderson RC, Klofstad CA, Mayew WJ, Venkatachalam M. Vocal fry may undermine the success of young women in the labor market. PLosONE. 2014; 9: e7506. doi:10.10.1371/journal.pone.0097506
  9. Maclagan M, Gordon E. Data for New Zealand social dialectology: The Canterbury Corpus. New Zealand English Journal. 1999; 13:50–58. http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/publications/nzej-backissues/1999-margaret-maclagan-and-elizabeth-gordon.pdf
  10. Mike Vuolo. Lexicon Valley. January 2nd, 2013. http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2013/01/lexicon_valley_on_creaky_voice_or_vocal_fry_in_young_american_women.html
  11. Kim Kardashian. Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8mcBdBL-t0
  12. Rosemary McLeod. Dominion Post, March 24th, 2016. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/78091905/creaking-and-croaking-voices-enough-to-make-you-cringe
  13. Collins SA, Missing SA. Vocal and visual attractiveness are related in women. Anim Behav. 2005; 65:997–1004.
  14. Jones BC, Feinberg DR, DeBruine LM, Little AC, et al. Integrating cues of social interest and voice pitch in men’s preferences for women’s voices. Biol Lett. 2008; 4:192–194.
  15. Borkowska B, Pawlowski B. Female voice frequency in the context of dominance and attractiveness perception. Anim Behav. 2011; 82:55–59.
  16. Feinberg DR, DeBruine LM, Jones BC, Perrett DI. The role of femininity and averageness of voice pitch in aesthetic judgements of women’s voices. Perception. 2008; 37:615–623.
  17. Apicella CL, Feinberg DR. Voice pitch alters mate-choice-relevant perception in hunter-gatherers. Proc Roy Soc. B 2009; 276: 1077-1082.
  18. O’Connor JJ. Voice pitch influences perceptions of sexual infidelity. Evol Pyschol. 2011: 9:64–78.
  19. Collins SA. Men’s voices and women’s choices. Anim Behav. 2000; 60:773–780.
  20. Feinberg DR, Jones BC, Little AC, Burt DM, et al. Manipulations of fundamental and formant frequencies influence the attractiveness of human male voices. Anim Behav. 2005; 69:561–68.
  21. Puts DA, Hodges CR, Cardenas RA, Gaulin SJ. Men’s voices as dominance signals: vocal fundamental and formant frequencies influence dominance attributions among men. Evol Human Behav. 2007; 28:340–344.
  22. Vukovic J, Feinberg DR, Jones BC. Self-rated attractiveness predicts individual differences in women’s preferences for masculine men’s voices. Personality and Individual Differences. 2008; 45:451–456.
  23. Hodges-Simeon CR, Gaulin SJ, Puts DA. Different vocal parameters predict perceptions of dominance and attractiveness. Hum Nat. 2010; 21:406–427.
  24. Wolff SE, Puts DA. Vocal masculinity is a robust dominance signal in men. Behav Ecol Sociobiol. 2010; 64:1673–1683.
  25. Anderson RC, Klofstad CA. Preference for leaders with masculine voices holds in the case of feminine leadership roles. PLoS ONE. 2012; 7 e51216. doi: 10.1371/journl.pone0051216
  26. Klofstad CA, Anderson RC, Peters S. Sounds like a winner: voice pitch influences perception of leadership capacity in both sexes. Proc Roy Soc B. 2012; 279: 2698-2704.
  27. Teague CC, Borak DJ, O’Connor JJ, Schandl C, Feinberg DR. Voice pitch influences voting behaviour. Evol Hum Behav. 2012; 33:210–216.
  28. Margaret Thatcher Voice Before/After. Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28_0gXLKLbk
  29. Mayew WJ, Parsons CA, Venkatachalam M. Voice pitch and the labor market success of male chief executive officers. Evol Hum Behav. 2013; 34:243–248.
  30. Labov W. The intersection of sex and social class in the course of linguistic change. Language Variation and Change. 1990; 2:205–254. 

Download

The downloadable PDF version of this article is only available to subscribers.

To view this content please login or subscribe