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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Stuttered Speak: A New Vocal Trend?


We're by now all too familiar with vocal fry, this practice most prominent amongst upper-middle class millennial women of screeching out, rather than pronouncing, the last syllables in words or phrases in sentences.


And its cousin, up-speak and misuse of “like”, has become so ubiquitous that can hardly be exclusively associated with the valley girls of California where it supposedly originated.


I've noticed another speech pattern, I'll call it staggered or stuttered speaking, from two podcasters, and wonder if it, too, may be another trend.  And the exciting news about this one: it's actually coming from men!

Aaron Mahnke, of the podcast Lore, and Michael Barbaro, host of NYT's podcast The Daily, both have HUGE pauses in unlikely places in their sentences.

Here's two recent examples from their podcasts.  Notice the significant gaps they both make at unnatural stopping points:

Mahnke: (Beginning seconds of Episode 101: Worn Away):  Archeologists believe--that--it's over--2000--years--old.  It's a mound that stands over--60--feet--tall--with a base that's almost as wide as a football field.  

Barbaro: (minute 1:45 of What Happened in the Midterm Elections): Kate, do you have one.  Second??   We're on the third floor.  Of the Times News Room.  And.  This place.  Is.  Pretty Electric.  At the moment.   

I've noted the gaps in Mahnke's excerpt with em dashes, and Mikie's with periods, since the latter's pauses seem greater.  

Is it coincidence? Or an emerging trend?  I find it interesting that these are both men of roughly the same age (circa 1980 birthdate). 

Have you heard this vocal trend before?  

Or notice another one emerging?  

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