Tag Archives: speech

Vocal creak. Why is it ‘bad’?

So.  There is a vocal phenomenon going on that is garnering a lot of negative press. It is known as ‘vocal creak’, ‘vocal fry’ or ‘creaky phonation’.  It is most often heard at the end of people’s phrases when they are speaking, and predominantly in young women. A major example of this style of speaking is Kim Kardashian and her sisters.

kim

Example of vocal creak:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02rcmb6

It has a few major disadvantages, mainly on how you are perceived by others. When we speak, the listener subconsciously forms a range of judgements about us. This is instantaneous and has a big impact on how they receive our words, therefore our ideas.

If you have a habit of trailing off when you speak into ‘vocal creak’, the danger is that it can be perceived as any of the following;

You don’t really care about what you are saying
You have little or no authority
You have little or no integrity
Your ideas are not important
You don’t value the listener and their time
You are not mature (as it is associated with young women, especially teenagers)

So, you can see how that may have a negative impact on your professional life, especially as a woman.

The good news is that you already know how to speak without vocal creak, as most of your speech will be without creak.  All you have to do is keep the vocal energy going till the end of your phrase.

EXERCISE:  Try recording yourself free-speaking on a subject such as what you did last weekend, and listen back. Notice if you vocal creak at the end.  Now try a few of the same phrases again but this time aiming for the last word. By that I mean, make the last word stand out a little bit.  It is partly a psychological commitment of being present with your speech while speaking. Experiment with it. and you will be able to reduce or even remove vocal creak from your speech.

Quote


“Whatever other speech you grow into….your dialect stays alive in a sort of inner freedom, a separate little self.”
Ted Hughes, Poet, cited in Corcoran 1993:114

Accent Tip #2


Connect your words together when speaking, as though like train carriages.  This helps the listener to hear your ideas rather than your words.

Imagine that each sentence is almost like one long word, a ‘train of thought’.

If you speak in separate words then your meaning becomes broken up, and harder to follow. This dilutes the power of your ideas.

Accent Tip #1

 Rhythm

Listen to the rhythm of the way people speak. Whatever the language or the accent, tune your ear into their overall rhythm.  Imagine it like a drum beat. Where are the strong beats and where are the weak beats?  Then mimic what you hear using a pattern of made up sounds, tapping the finger on the table to emphasise the strong beats 

Strong beat – “Dum”
Weak beat –   “di” 

Standard British Example:  John Keats  –  To Autumn
To swell the gourd, and plump the  hazel  shells
di Dum  di   Dum     di    Dum   di  Dum di  Dum

More info here:

International Centre for Voice

The International Centre for Voice is a great place to find out about all things voice.

You can join the ICV to enjoy the forum where voice professional discuss the voice and its wonders.  They also have a full program of Workshops covering many topics, that are open to both teachers and students of voice, professionals or otherwise.

Learn about your voice

I discovered this great blog recently about the voice and how it works.  There are lots of images, videosand other interesting resources all in one place!

 

 

Link to blog on the voice

 

 

 

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Follow me on Twitter

Hello,

You can follow me on Twitter for voice tips and inspiration.


I will tweet links here to any new videos, or articles I create.  This will cover many areas of vocal coaching from singing exercises, accent softening tips, or exercises for the spoken voice.

Be inspired by voice

Accent Softening Workshop – Spanish Chamber of Commerce

Teaching an Accent Softening workshop at the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.  The workshop targeted the rhythm and intonation of spoken English.  It also showed you how to use your voice to become an engaging, interesting speaker and avoid misunderstanding due to accent.

Here is a link to the feedback in a blog post they did about the session:

Spanish Chamber of Commerce blog

Accent Softening tip – difference between ‘W’ and ‘V’ position

I’ve made this video to target the difference between the ‘W’ and the ‘V’ sound. Indian people will find this particularly useful.It gives you tips to help you find the right position and sound, as well as some words and phrases to practice on. Enjoy!

 

Accent Softening tips for Russians

I’ve made this video targeting the difference between the Russian and English ‘L’ sound. It gives you tips to help you find the right position and sound, as well as some words and phrases to practice on. Enjoy!