How Can the Cause for Vocal Fry be Determined

Vocal Fry is a new trend in speech behavior, primarily among woman. The term ‘Vocal Fry’ stems from the fact that the oral sound is something like the sound of oil frying. Actually, Vocal fry is a low staccato vibration produced by a slow fluttering of the vocal chords.

This is a Vocal Fry Audio example

college girsl speaking in vocal fryIt has typically been a symptom of a voice disorder and not common. For instance, classically-trained singers know a lot about vocal fry because it is something they diligently try to fix if they are experiencing this speech disorder. However, Dr. Reena Gupta has found “relatively normal looking vocal cords” in young woman with this speech behavior.  The majority of women in college may now be using vocal fry in their regular everyday language, according to a recent study.

There are many theories as to why this trend is occurring in such a large demographic. One theory is young woman in college want to sound more forceful as they prepare to enter their careers. Vocal Fry may be an unconscious emulation of the way a man is perceived to sound in a leadership role. Another theory is that the young lady is merely copying the way pop stars speak, such as Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian.

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A Lateral Lisp May Not Be Recognized by the Child With The Lisp

A  lisp in a child can be developmental or from incorrect placement of the tongue on the roof of the mouth, such as a lateral lisp.  A lateral lisp is caused by the child directing air flow down the sides of the tongue rather than directly down the middle of the tongue.  This causes the pronunciation of the letters  ‘S’ and ‘Z’ to be muffled or slushy.

Father reading with daughterWhat may not be obvious to the parent is that the child with a lisp does not perceive themselves as speaking differently from the children or adults around them. Therefore, waiting for the child to “grow out of it”  is not advisable, because children very rarely outgrow a ‘lateral’ lisp. The longer a child continues to pronounce words incorrectly, the more difficult it can be to correct the problem as the child grows older.

The result of waiting too long can be especially problematic as the child enters school. The child has the probability of being teased by peers and will not understand why. The child will perceive themselves as speaking flawlessly.

Beth Fine, of Fine Communication in Manhattan, New York, New York, had a young patient that, as an 8th grade student, had her dreams of having leading roles in school plays shattered because of her lateral lisp. She did not perceive her speech to be any different from her peers. With speech therapy, the student became aware of correct tongue placement and corrected her lisp in  a relatively short period of time. Now a college student, she speaks in front of large groups of people and has chosen to be a mentor to other girls.

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