I try not to complain, I swear I do.
I try not to be that old lady who gripes about “kids today.” Cuz for the most part, I’m actually a really big supporter of “kids today.” I think our next generation is wonderful! They’re philanthropic, socially aware, politically liberal, creative, spiritual and generally adorable.
They make great music, great beer and wonderful cannabis butter.
I love the millennials!
What. Is. With. Those. Voices?
It’s not the men (sorry….I swear, I’ve been a feminist for decades!)
It’s the women.
It’s the recent speech fad that has taken over the women on radio, television and in far too many casual conversations.
As a former speech/language pathologist, I always pay attention to the way people speak. I tune in to pitch, to intonation patters, to the rate of our speech. There have always been habits or fads to the way public figures speak.
Can’t you picture those old WWII news reels, where the guy speaks with the rhythm of a machine gun? His voice would go up and down in an exaggerated intonation pattern in an almost singsong tune. Listen to two minutes of this 1940’s newsreel and see if I’m right. Politicians from those years spoke the same way, but they also had the same fake New York/London/Boston accent mashup. Picture Cary Grant or Bette Davis.
Am I right?
If you jump forward to the 1960’s, the TV and radio voices became slower, more mellow. Both men and women spoke at a low pitch. Their voices were smooth, mellow, drawling and sultry. Everyone tried to sound that peaceful and calm at that time.
I was just a kid, but even back then, I remember loving those TV voices. They sounded like real maple syrup pouring out over a stack of pancakes. See what I mean in these old ads?
I don’t think I noticed any other verbal styles or habits after that time, although I’m sure there were lots of little quirks.
It wasn’t until the past three years or so that my aging and increasingly cranky ear has been caught by a verbal trend.
And this one is making me insane.
See, all the young women on the air today sound like they just swallowed a frog. Every sentence kind of trails off and ends on a pitch so low that their voices scrape along the gravel.
They all sound like they smoke too many cigars.
It’s terrible for your vocal cords, in the first place. Don’t these women want to be able to sing along with Rhiannon Giddens in the car? I mean, jeez.
And it’s terrible for comprehension! Especially for old folks like me. When these young whippersnappers drop their pitch that much, I lose the whole conversation.
And its just so freakin’ trendy! You know?
Last week I took my Mom out for lunch at our favorite local spot. We were enjoying out pad thai and our shrimp curry, but I couldn’t make myself ignore the conversation taking place at the table behind me. Not because it was so fascinating, but because both of the young women were speaking in glottal fry.
“I only have two weeks left before my (picture the sound of a frog here) school year staaaarts.”
“I know! I already have my classroom just aboooout reeeeeady.”
I could hear their vocal folds shredding. And even though they were young, enthusiastic teachers, I wanted to strangle the life out of both of them.
OK. I am old. Yes, I complain. Fine, I’m cranky.
But, holy annoying mindless stupidity.
Listen to this please. Tell me I am not alone in bemoaning this horrible vocal scourge.