creaky voice

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Wed Feb 22 15:24:21 UTC 2006


Type "creaky voice" into Google and you will get a number of
excellent references. Even Wikipedia is acoustically sound. The most
frequent user of creaky voice I have heard recently is Bill Clinton,
a speaker certainly not given to high-pitched undergrad women's
voice. IN fact, the overall influence of creak is to considerably
lower, not raise, pitch.


>I second Tom's request:  Since I haven't seen or heard any of the persons
>mentioned below (I'm benighted, I know), I have no idea what you all mean
>by "creaky" voice.  I had thought it was the high-pitched, squeaky,
>tweenish (definitely not affected) voice I hear from undergrad women; am I
>At 09:55 AM 2/22/2006, you wrote:
>>Bill Mullins,
>>I am also an interested looker-on, but has there been a response to your
>>query that I missed? Phoneticians should not only be able to produce the
>>creaky voice, but also describe it in the language of acoustic/auditory
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
>>Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2006 2:40 PM
>>Subject: Re: creaky voice
>>>---------------------- Information from the mail
>>>header -----------------------
>>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>Poster:       "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
>>>Subject:      Re: creaky voice
>>>>Is there some way of describing, for us lookers-on, what is meant by
>>>>"creaky voice"?   Are there  some familiar voices on NPR that exhibit =
>>>>A. Murie
>>>I played the Jacobellis interview; she didn't sound especially creaky.  =
>>>(Or maybe I'm not understanding the word as it is being used.)
>>>I hear some actresses who sound creaky.  Usually it sounds kind of =
>>>affected, and shows up in words with a short "a" sound.
>>>See Mary-Louise Parker, particularly from her appearances on "West Wing" =
>>>(I have even seen her called "lockjaw" on one of the fan boards -- =
>>>perhaps the creakiness is associated with a clenched lower jaw, sort of =
>>>like Thurston Howell III's Harvard accent).
>>>See also Sarah Vowell, who played the daughter in "The Incredibles" and =
>>>appears occasionally on public radio's "This American Life".
>>>The American Dialect Society -
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
preston at

The American Dialect Society -

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