From Slate’s Lexicon Valley, an episode about a vocal affection in young, “upwardly mobile” American women. It’s called creaky voice, and it describes a speaker using staccato bursts in the back of the throat. It’s raspy, deep and quite familiar.
The “creaking” sound grates on the ears of NPR veteran, Bob Garfield. But when played to American college women, it conveys professionalism, urbanism and a woman whose career is on the rise.
Listen to this example from a Deutsche Bank interview series, especially the first speaker, a managing director named Jane. Nearly all the women in this video creak.
The explanation given in Lexicon Valley is that the creaky affection lowers the voice’s pitch, making it sound deeper. And a deeper voice can be beneficial, especially in the workplace.
Take for example Marget Thatcher. Her high notes were “dangerous to passing sparrows”. Upon the recommendation of her advisers, she lowered her pitch and moved up the ranks to eventually become prime minister.
Soooooo maaaaaybe there is something to aaaaaall this creaking?