Creaky voice
Entity (decimal)̰
Unicode (hex)U+0330

In linguistics, creaky voice (sometimes called laryngealisation, pulse phonation, vocal fry, or glottal fry) refers to a low, scratchy sound that occupies the vocal range below the common vocal register. It is a special kind of phonation[1][2] in which the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx are drawn together; as a result, the vocal folds are compressed rather tightly, becoming relatively slack and compact. They normally vibrate irregularly at 20–50 pulses per second, about two octaves below the frequency of modal voicing, and the airflow through the glottis is very slow. Although creaky voice may occur with very low pitch, as at the end of a long intonation unit, it can also occur with a higher pitch.[3] All contribute to make a speaker's voice sound creaky or raspy.

Short demonstration of vocal fry/creaky voice

In phonology

In the Received Pronunciation of English, creaky voice has been described as a possible realisation of glottal reinforcement. For example, an alternative phonetic transcription of attempt [əˈtʰemʔt] could be [əˈtʰem͡m̰t].[4]

In some languages, such as Jalapa Mazatec, creaky voice has a phonemic status; that is, the presence or absence of creaky voice can change the meaning of a word.[5] In the International Phonetic Alphabet, creaky voice of a phone is represented by a diacritical tilde U+0330 ◌̰ COMBINING TILDE BELOW, for example [d̰]. The Danish prosodic feature stød is an example of a form of laryngealisation that has a phonemic function.[6] A slight degree of laryngealisation, occurring in some Korean language consonants for example, is called "stiff voice".[7]

Social aspects

Main article: Vocal fry register

Use of creaky voice across general speech and in singing is termed "vocal fry".

Some evidence exists of vocal fry becoming more common in the speech of young female speakers of American English in the early 21st century,[8] with researcher Ikuko Patricia Yuasa finding that college-age Americans perceived female creaky voice as "hesitant, nonaggressive, and informal but also educated, urban-oriented, and upwardly mobile."[8]

It is subsequently theorized that vocal fry may be a way for women to sound more "authoritative" and credible by using it to emulate the deeper male register.[9][10][11][12] Yuasa[8] further theorizes that because California is at the center of much of the entertainment industry, young Americans may unconsciously be using creaky voice more because of the media they consume.

See also


  1. ^ Titze, I. R. (2008). "The Human Instrument". Scientific American. 298 (1): 94–101. Bibcode:2008SciAm.298a..94T. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0108-94. PMID 18225701.
  2. ^ Titze, I. R. (1994). Principles of Voice Production. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-717893-3.
  3. ^ Kuang, Jianjing (2017-09-01). "Covariation between voice quality and pitch: Revisiting the case of Mandarin creaky voice". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 142 (3): 1693–1706. Bibcode:2017ASAJ..142.1693K. doi:10.1121/1.5003649. ISSN 0001-4966. PMID 28964062.
  4. ^ Roach, Peter (2004). "British English: Received Pronunciation" (PDF). Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 34 (2): 241. doi:10.1017/S0025100304001768. S2CID 144338519. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-09-05.
  5. ^ Ashby, M.; Maidment, J. A. (2005). Introducing Phonetic Science. Cambridge University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-521-00496-1. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  6. ^ Basbøll, Hans (2005). The Phonology of Danish. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-824268-0. p. 24: The Danish stød [...] is [...] a syllable prosody manifested by laryngealization.
  7. ^ Ahn, Sang-cheol; Iverson, Gregory K. (October 2004). "Dimensions in Korean Laryngeal Phonology*". Journal of East Asian Linguistics. 13 (4): 345–379. doi:10.1007/s10831-004-4256-x. ISSN 0925-8558. S2CID 123061263.
  8. ^ a b c Yuasa, I. P. (2010). "Creaky Voice: A New Feminine Voice Quality for Young Urban-Oriented Upwardly Mobile American Women?". American Speech. 85 (3): 315–337. doi:10.1215/00031283-2010-018.
  9. ^ Dilley, L.; Shattuck-Hufnagel, S.; Ostendorf, M. (1996). "Glottalization of word-initial vowels as a function of prosodic structure" (PDF). Journal of Phonetics. 24 (4): 423–444. doi:10.1006/jpho.1996.0023. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-05-22.
  10. ^ Coates, Jennifer (2016). Women, men and language: a sociolinguistic account of gender differences in language. Routledge Linguistics Classics (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315645612. ISBN 9781138948785.
  11. ^ Hollien, Harry; Moore, Paul; Wendahl, Ronald W.; Michel, John F. (1966). "On the Nature of Vocal Fry". Journal of Speech and Hearing Research. 9 (2). American Speech–Language–Hearing Association: 245–247. doi:10.1044/jshr.0902.245. PMID 5925528.
  12. ^ Borkowska, Barbara; Pawłowski, Bogusław (2011). "Female voice frequency in the context of dominance and attractiveness perception". Animal Behaviour. 82 (1). Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, Elsevier: 55–59. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.03.024. S2CID 53275785.

Further reading