Friday, June 6, 2014

would you like vocal fries with that?

Actual linguist Christian DiCanio debunks non-linguists' study about perceptions of fake-vocal fry (if The Onion did linguistics parodies, surely this would be it): Vocal fry doesn't harm your career prospects, but not being yourself just might.

Money quote:
...listeners judge the female speakers with vocal fry as sounding "untrustworthy", there is a good possibility that they are simply making such a judgment based on the speaker not sounding like herself. The better lesson that one might take home instead here is that one's job prospects are harmed if you try to talk (or act) like someone who you are not.
Read the full take-down here (including bonus spectrogram!)

PS: I knew Christian briefly when he was an undergrad at SUNY Buffalo. He was talented and motivated. Now he's slumming it at some shady, slacker *university* in Connecticut. Damn waste.


Aelish said...

Well that's a relief. The mainstream coverage of this slanted very heavily in the sexist (but not overly surprising) direction of: "Hey ladies, here's how you're talking WRONG!" I kept thinking there was something off about it.

Good to read that particularly fantastic takedown.

Chris said...

Aelish, within the linguistics community this whole vocal fry thing is generally mocked and derided. Christian re-published his critique at Language Log and received a variety of interesting responses:

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