Academic Paper from the year 2018 in the subject Speech Science / Linguistics, grade: 1.3, University of Würzburg, course: Perceiving English: Psycholinguistic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives, language: English, abstract: In recent years there has been a "hot linguistic fad [...] or the verbal tic of doom" that has become increasingly present in the speech of North American women. This linguistic obscurity is creaky voice or vocal fry. It has been commonly referred to as a component of "valley-girl-sound" because of its occurrence was often noticeable in the speech of young women from the west coast of the U.S. - specifically California. Now the trend has spread throughout the United States which has triggered numerous reports on blogs as well as various studies and research concerning this topic. Interestingly, however, most of the recent research conducted on the use of vocal fry among young American women has been about its perception. Yuasa's study from 2010, for instance, came to the conclusion that creaky voice by American women from northern California and eastern Iowa was perceived as "hesitant, nonaggressive, and informal but also educated, urban-oriented, and upwardly mobile." While other studies suggest that it could be hurting their job opportunities. While the perception on vocal fry varies, so do the opinions for its emergence among young Americans. Some propose that it is a part of a social identity that young women strive to be a part of. Others suggest that it is a tool to lower the voice in order for it to resemble the male voice which is frequently perceived as more dominant because of its lower pitch. Consequently, this theory means that vocal fry is a tool of empowerment for young women. The theory that will be discussed in this paper, however, will be a different one. I will examine how vocal fry and its popularity among young American women are being spread through the popular women who are prevalent in the media. As Graddol and Swan state: "It would be surprising if people did not use their voice to project a culturally desirable image. Other parts of the human body which have been endowed with social significance are manipulated, groomed or decorated before being presented in public." This statement gives power to the argument that the not only the vocab but also the phonation in the speech of young women are impressionable by famous and successful women that function as role models for them.
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