What's The Big Deal About Vocal Fry

Apr 3, 2013

We'll be scrolling through many annoying modern speech mannerisms on today's show, but somehow the glowing white coal in the middle of it all is "vocal fry" -- also known as creaky voice.

It's an affectation popular among younger girls, although older actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon have used it in film roles, usually when playing, well, kind of an airhead.  

The word "annoying"  comes up a lot in reference to this.

So is this a grating, faddish speech mode crying out for eradication? Or is it just something girls do as a way of bonding and emphasizing shared sensibilities?

You'd be surprised at the heat this debate has generated online, especially at Slate magazine.

On this show, a young (female) essayist, a linguist, and a journalist who has studied why we find certain things annoying. 

You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.