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Vocal fry is still a thing

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  • Jeff Edelstein: Vocal Fry

    Jeff Edelstein: Vocal Fry

    Monday, August 6 2012 10:51 PM EDT2012-08-07 02:51:02 GMT
    Trentonian columnist Jeff Edelstein wants to know why so many celebrities and young people talk in vocal fry tones.
    Trentonian columnist Jeff Edelstein wants to know why so many celebrities and young people talk in vocal fry tones.

Mae West did it, the Kardashians do it -- a slow raspy way of talking that has come to be known as vocal fry. Britney Spears even does it when she sings.

Vocal fry is a style of speaking that involves a low fluttering of the vocal chords that creates a creaky sound to it.

Ben Zimmer, a linguist and founder of vocabulary.com, gave me a lesson in how to fry your words.

Young women are the most likely group to talk this way. The last time a speech pattern got this much attention was when so-called Valley girls rocked what became known as "up talk," when each sentence ends on a high note.

Linguists say vocal fry named for the sound hot oil makes when it pops in a frying pan. While this way of talking has plenty of critics, those who do it are maybe hoping to sound prestigious or authoritative or just trying to sound like their friends.

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