Jean Barker

Worse than, like “like”

2014-10-31 11:41

Jean Barker

Carriers could be a perfectly normal-looking, intelligent person in every other way, but the moment they open their mouth, I'm afraid to remain in the same room in case I am suddenly compelled to attack them with the nearest piece of furniture.

The easiest way to explain the creaky voice is to demonstrate it. You could watch any interview with Kim Kardashian, or you can instead just listen to this radio clip.

The fast-spreading speech impediment epidemic - also known as “vocal fry”, or “uptalk” or “glottalization” -  is sweeping the USA.

I don't know what causes it. Maybe it derives from trying to hold the smoke in your lungs after a bong hit to ensure maximum THC absorbsion. Fried, geddit? Maybe it's easier to talk like that and fart at the same time. Maybe Americans are getting too much frog DNA in their corn syrup supply.

Whatever the root cause, Vocal Fry has to be the most appallingly annoying affectation since using “like” to disguise moments of pre-fart brain-constipation became acceptable in the 80s, as in: “I, like think that like I like deserve to like get a like car when I like, graduate high school.”

Confession time: I caught a bad case of “likelish” myself as a teenager. I blame insecurity. Throwing “likes” in between my words delayed the need to say anything, giving me more time to think. Even today, when I get nervous speaking in public, the word like creeps in. Likelish is annoying. It certainly drove my mother insane with minimal effort on my part! However, it's nothing compared to the Creaky Voice plague.

“Fry” is gradually becoming more and more acceptable, even normal. It used to only be that only Ho'wood brats like Britney and scummy reality TV stars creaked their way through their inane brain-dribblings. But this airborn virus is spreading to new carriers every time girls go to the mall together.

The other day on radio, I heard NPR's Zoe Chace begin a serious financial report in the creaky voice, with absolutely no irony at all. I changed channels.  But I knew, as I did it, that escape was now impossible. The virus has officially crossed over into the mainstream, and pretty soon, nobody will understand me unless I have it too.

- Jean earned an MFA in Directing and Screenwriting and works in the LA film industry. She tweets as @jeanbarker and blogs pictures of signs and more, here. She will be back.

Send your comments to Jean


News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.