A recent article in the New York Times entitled “They’re, Like, Way Ahead of the Linguistic Currrrve” suggests that there’s a lot more method in teenage-girl-speak than young women are usually given credit for. The article’s worth reading (especially if you’ve got a teenage daughter…).
The author cites a Saturday Night Live sketch with Maya Rudolph mimicking Maya Angelou, as an illustration of “vocal fry” (“a raspy or croaking sound injected (usually) at the end of a sentence”). It turns out the clip isn’t available in the UK, as this TV channel informed me. I think a name change might be in order, don’t you?
The other clip does work, so here’s a crash course in vocal-fry chat-up technique, by Mae West and Cary Grant in She Done Him Wrong.
By Marian Dougan