AS UNNATURAL AS HOGS RAISED ON CONCRETE…THE CREEPING DANGER THAT IS VOCAL FRYPosted: April 4, 2014
Mrs. Hate doesn’t know quite where to start with this subject that is so near and dear to her heart, so let’s all just take a deep breath and dive in:
There is no shame in having an accent; be authentic, talk like where you’re from, keep your regional identity, and don’t be ashamed of it.
If you’ve moved around a lot during your formative years and you’re not really from anywhere and your accent is a mishmash, keep the mishmash, but at least have a modulated voice.
Either be self-confident or imagine you’re self-confident, please, and just talk with the same inflection and such you’ve had since being able to form sentences into paragraphs and converse.
Just freaking talk with the voice God gave you.
Talk like a person instead of a hog raised on concrete.
Mrs. Hate feels like she’s getting her sea legs now, so let’s walk and stomp all over the dangerous, insidious, duplicitous, cunning MONSTROSITY that is vocal fry.
Mrs. Hate has an authentic, pure, soft, NOT syrupy Southern accent. Her voice might be a little low, maybe even the slightest bit nasally, but she has been told all along by the opposite sex that her voice is lovely. This is not any kind of posturing or vanity on Mrs. Hate’s part, it’s just a statement, and she guesses that a man is more comfortable saying things like that to a woman than a woman would be saying that to a woman—at least in this small town. Who knows? Mrs. Hate is not going down that path today; that’s a gender-based subject for another post.
While Mrs. Hate cannot imagine talking any other way than Southern, at the same time she enjoys—she LOVES—hearing other accents. She has no shame stating in a genuinely interested (and there’s a big difference between being interested and being nosy) way to someone she comes in contact with while out and about “you don’t sound like you’re from around here…where are you from?”. It’s just part of realizing that there is a world beyond this rural Southern town and a way to imagine a different way of talking, being, indeed living life.
So, authentic regional accents are totally fine, even if they are not Southern, and even if they might sound a little harsh or brisk to Mrs. Hate’s ears. They’re authentic, and that’s what counts in Mrs. Hate’s book.
How about inflection? Do random inflections and syllable stressors get a “pass” from Mrs. Hate? Probably. Different people may emphasize certain syllables in certain words differently, and their voice may rise or fall in a certain pattern, but it least it’s all (relatively) pure and/or recognizable.
A glaring exception to this point would be what is popularly known as “Valley Girl” speech pattern. Let’s be a little more precise here and quote from Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal):
The high rising terminal (HRT), also known as uptalk, upspeak, rising inflection, or high rising intonation (HRI), is a feature of some accents of English where statements have a rising intonation pattern in the final syllable or syllables of the utterance.
Hmmm…Valley Girl?? Possibly a precursor to vocal fry?? Hmmm…
And what if you moved around so much during your childhood—growing up in a military family seems to be the example used most often—and had just all sorts of accents around you and you developed your own “mishmash” accent? Fine enough—impressible years here.
But what we’ve arrived at here is THE CREEPING DANGER that is VOCAL FRY.
Why does Mrs. Hate have such hateful feelings about this?
Because it just sounds so, so, stupid. Why growl at the end of a sentence? Does the speaker (usually a female) think it makes her sound more in CHARGE, more SELF-ASSURED, more “ALL THAT”, maybe even more “SEXY”??
Well, let Mrs. Hate tell you something. It doesn’t. What you sound like is you don’t have wits enough to just talk with the voice God gave you and from the area you grew up in. It sounds like you don’t have a high enough level of independent thinking to NOT follow the legion of young women who, God only knows how, somehow DEVELOPED or HEARD this VOCAL FRY and decided it was…in charge, self-assured, “all that”, and “sexy”.
Furthermore, no matter how smart you are, you sound intellectually deficient. When Mrs. Hate sits at the computer type type typing away and hears the television going on in the background with a supposedly highly intelligent female interviewer/political type/entrepreneur/whatever spouting VOCAL FRY all over the listener—well, it just boggles her mind. She usually gets up and walks over and stands in front of the TV and starts waving her arms around and sputtering. Then, she becomes speechless with the gruesomeness of it all and just scurries back to the safety of the computer (where she usually searches for YouTube videos pertaining to vocal fry so that she can get upset all over again, validation-wise).
If Mrs. Hate were in a position of hiring and firing (which she most assuredly is not, as she just does her own thing in her own house and in her own life, just as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine), she has a strong feeling that a job applicant growling and creaking and yapping with vocal fry all over the place—NO MATTER HOW SMART SHE WAS—would be told whatever employers tell people that they don’t want to hire. Mrs. Hate does not know how one “gets around” not hiring somebody you don’t care for (laws and such), but that’s just not her problem here. Her problem is that she fears vocal fry is an indicator of a rising tide of stupidity and shallowness in the way people think, act, and even talk, leading to an increasing lack of authenticity in the very core of our being.
Perhaps it seems strange to get so worked up over phonation, in this case what is correctly termed “the vocal fry register” (vocal fry). It’s not cancer, it’s not abuse, it’s not war, it’s just…as unnatural as hogs raised on concrete. It’s just not right. And don’t say it’s an accent. It’s not. It’s an acquired speech pattern.
And where on earth did this phrase come from—“as unnatural as hogs raised on concrete?”
Well, Mrs. Hate’s father raised hogs for some years, and those hogs were kept in a dirt pen so they could root around and wallow and do what hogs do best…just be hoggish. How unnatural would it be to raise hogs on concrete? Very.
And that’s what vocal fry is like. Unnatural.
Grow up, ladies. Be yourself, whatever kind of accent you have. Just be authentic.