Creaky voice

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Sat Jan 1 18:09:09 UTC 2011

From:    Ronald Butters<ronbutters at AOL.COM>

> If you listen closely, you will note that creaking is a common
> phenomenon among men, women, teenage boys, and even small parrots.

As a professional who regularly does acoustic analysis i might shouldn't
admit this, but i've just been glossing past the term "creaky voice" for
years now without ever caring to learn what it actually means—that is, i
could have given you a technical definition in terms of what the vocal
tract is doing, but i didn't have a connection in my head between that
and the sound of it.

So this thread got me to finally make that connection, and so i googled
lots of stuff on creaky voice, only to find lots and lots of people who
absolutely hate it. Me, though? I find it utterly unremarkable (in the
social sense—professionally, it'd be interesting to look into). I just
thought that's the way people sound when they talk.

(Now i have to figure out if i have creaky voice or not. Students
regularly say that i have a "soothing" voice, and given the way non-fans
of creaky voice characterize it, soothing may be the conceptual opposite.)

One thing i noticed in my searching, by the way, is that a lot of people
who loathe creaky voice and were kind enough to provide YouTube clips to
show what they meant seemed to react most strongly not to creaky voice
alone, but rather to creaky voice plus a high degree of nasality.


Very truly yours,
David Bowie

The American Dialect Society -

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