In linguistics, creaky voice (sometimes called laryngealisation, pulse phonation, vocal fry, or glottal fry) is a special kind of phonation 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 vibrate irregularly at 20–50 pulses per second, about two octaves below the frequency of normal 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 occur with any pitch.
Creaky voice is prevalent as a peer-group affectation among young women in the United States. According to a 2012 study in PLOS ONE, young women using creaky voice are viewed as less competent, less educated, less trustworthy, less attractive and less employable.
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. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, creaky voice of a phone is represented by a diacritical tilde U+0330 ̰ COMBINING TILDE BELOW, for example [d̰].
A slight degree of laryngealisation, occurring in some Korean consonants for example, is called "stiff voice". The Danish prosodic feature stød is an example of a form of laryngealisation that has a phonemic function.
- Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.
- "Word of Mouth: Young Women as Linguistic Innovators", BBC Radio 4, 18 May 2015, from c. 17:40 mins.