Vocal Fry- Can we please make it against the law?

I’m hearing it a lot on the radio, and Melissa Block of NPR’s “All Things Considered” is one of the worst offenders. I makes me grind my teeth and want to drive my car into a telephone pole.

I say we go back to calling it a speech disorder and send people to therapy for it.

No. Some of us just have gravelly voices. I agree it does sound odd when women do it excessively though.

I’ve also heard it described as creaky voice. The Olson Twins do it.

I think Fry should give up singing and stick with his holophonor lessons.

If your voice is naturally gravelly, more power to you. You’re not who I’m talking about. I’m talking about young women who do it deliberately.

Um… some youtube examples of people actually speaking this way? The only person I’ve heard that sounds anything like this explanation mp3 was some actress from before my parents were born, not something I associate with young women.

There’s a pretty good example here.

Edit: Even better example. This one is someone doing an exaggerated version for effect, but it makes it easier to understand what she’s referring to.

Is it that sort of low, strained voice that I think of as “valley girl talk?” If so, I hate it. Hate hate hate it.

Languagelog had a post on this a while ago. Their conclusion? It’s not a new thing by any means, moderate use is unlikely to be damaging and there haven’t been enough studies with far-ranging enough populations to say whether it’s increased in the young female demographic.

My opinion? It’s a thing that people do and calling attention to it like this is just going to embarrass people who didn’t realize they’re doing it and encourage others to increase their use of it, just to annoy you.

My personal theory is that the increasing use of vocal fry was kind of natural counterpoint to uptalk, (which also is considered to have “valley talk” origins, though I kind of disagree). This is because rising intonation traditionally indicated uncertainty, so the vocal fry came into use more and more in order to counteract that. It strives create an illusion of authority.

Mae West was a practitioner. Apparently it peeled her a lot of grapes.

Listening to that “even better example,” I couldn’t help but think of Amber (aka Cutthroat Bitch) from House, MD.

I find vocal fry much less annoying than uptalk.

Yet another thing that I never noticed before that will, now that I am aware of it, annoy the hell out of me.


I just heard the first example of it on TV.

I’ve heard “vocal fry” for years. I think it’s also called “creaky voice”. Like uptalk, I always thought of it as a West Coast thing.

Is that what Jessica Simpson is always doing that makes her sound like she’s trying to give the effect of singing from her bed and inviting you in?

Opinion I heard from a doctor many years ago: Being a teenager is a disease.
Fortunately, it tends to be what they call a “self-limiting” disease.

This is good news, since no effective therapy is known.
“Valley girl” speech disorders may simply be but one symptom.

I once had a spanish class with a girl who valleygirled her spanish. I’m pretty laissez faire about speech patterns and even I wanted to slap her after a classworth of it.

Do you really think anyone consciously changes their speech pattern to seem more or less authoritative? When women fry the trailing end of their sentences, they sound like diffident teenagers with quaking knees reading a book report in front of the class.

I agree it’s related to uptalk, sans the BS psychoanalysis. It’s just what young girls do because a lot of other young girls do it. In 15 years it will be something else, and someone will be characterizing it as a function of their confidence (or lack thereof).