segunda-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2016

Upspeak and vocal fry

There's something happening with speech patterns. First, they are changing in unpleasant ways. Second, they are being more policed than ever. I mean, at least there are names for speech subtleties, so it's easier to talk about occurring patterns. Such as upspeak and vocal fry. In my opinion, they are annoying as hell.

Upspeak is when intonation rises at the end of a sentence, which makes it sound like a question. It's used particularly in what is known valleyspeak, a "sociolect" also often used by those who love the "like" word.

What takes the cake though is vocal fry. You know The Ring or The Grudge? (Not posed as upspeak, but as a legitimate question) That sound that precedes that scary girl showing up? Vocal fry is caused by air bubbles in vocal folds and it is stuff from nightmares. It has a jittery, creaky effect that sounds like it comes from such horror movies. Or like it's coming from a socialite without enough oxygen to form a complete sentence.

I am thankful that this has a name, otherwise I wouldn't be able to shame it here. While there is this study that shows women who use vocal fry may be seen as urban-oriented and upwardly mobile, and this study suggests its use is increasing, anecdotal evidence shows that frying is associated with ditzy people. 

It's been made fun of in newspapers, television and radio shows, and podcasts for a reason, right? Because it's annoying. Yes, Noam Chomsky does it and he's a guy, but he has many more qualities to show for. 

Women, who obviously have less chances to establish a reputation right away and suffer from obsolete instances of inequality like, every day, have to be more concerned about their ideas being listened to, not their speech style. It's seriously unfair, but we women feel it and we have to constantly be extra cautious about appearance to the point of exhaustion. That's why vocal fry is actually detrimental to us women. 

It creates a gendered bubble, an automatic labeling system that places us at a level from where form undermines content. Where those who listen to us may be able to categorize us based on whether they think our speech pattern is urban-oriented and upwardly mobile or ditzy, airheaded and valley-like.

That's why I mentioned speech is being more policed than ever. The same way it's irritating that everything is analyzed these days and certain things are made fun of, it's also irritating that such fads as frying and upspeak turn into a new way of speaking and get picked up so much that they get analyzed in the first place and then associated with personality traits or abilities or genders. It's hard to have to think about these things.

It's hard to pay attention to how we behave and how we might be perceived. I'm only complaining about vocal fry because it's annoying though and it may become a thing. But that's because I obviously have misophonia.

Too long, didn't read version:


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