The Fresh Air interview of David Thorpe and Susan Sankin makes me look forward to Thorpe’s film, “Do I Sound Gay?” But Sankin’s suggestions that women and young people’s speech is pathological leads me to re-read Robin Lakoff, Deborah Cameron, and Nelson Flores.
Gabriel Arana recently published a defense of creaky voice at The Atlantic. He notes that recent criticism of young women’s use of creaky voice, or “vocal fry”, is part of a long tradition of critiquing the speaking styles of less powerful groups of people. Arana’s conclusion that “normative judgments about linguistic prestige are relative, and merely reflect social attitudes” is absolutely correct and well-known to linguistic anthropologists and other scholars of language. The particular speech patterns he analyses to support his conclusion – up-talk, like, and creak – are somewhat questionable, however.