The most noticeable change can be heard in their accents. Language is not static but dynamic, constantly evolving to suit the fashions of the time and this results in a shift in pronunciation.
Women today speak at a deeper pitch than their mothers or grandmothers would have done, thanks to the changing power dynamics between men and women. View image of Credit: Getty Images.
Cecilia Pemberton at the University of South Australia studied the voices of two groups of Australian women aged 18—25 years. The researchers compared archival recordings of women talking in with more recent recordings taken in the early s.
The researchers had carefully selected their samples to control for any potential demographic factors: The team also considered the fact that members of the more recent group from the s were using the contraceptive pill, which could have led to hormonal changes that could have altered the vocal chords. Need a woman for my bbc to please wo,an drop in pitch I need some company now even when the team excluded those women from their sample.
Instead, the researchers speculated that the transformation reflects the rise of women to more prominent roles in society, leading them to adopt a deeper tone to project authority and dominance in the workplace. Former UK prime woma Margaret Thatcher employed a professional speech coach to help her to sound more authoritative, deliberately dropping the pitch of her voice by a massive 60 Hz. And while most of us may not go to such great lengths, recent research shows that we all spontaneously adapt the pitch of our voices to signal our perceived social rank.
For both men and women, the people who had lowered their pitch ended up with a higher social rank. In one experimentJoey Cheng of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign asked groups of four to seven participants pleawe perform an unusual decision-making task that involved ranking the items that an astronaut would need to survive a disaster on the moon.Thick Black Tanjil Bren Dick For You
For both men and women, the people who had lowered their pitch ended up with a higher social rank, and were considered to be more dominant in the group, while the people who had raised their pitch were considered to be more submissive and had a lower social rank. Whether consciously or unconsciously, women appear to be adapting their vocal profile to suit the opportunities that are available to vbc today.
Interestingly, the influence of perceived dominance on vocal pitch can also be heard when you compare voices between countries. Women in the Netherlands consistently talk in deeper voices than women in Japanfor instance, and this seems to be linked to Need a woman for my bbc to please prevailing gender stereotypes — independence versus powerlessness, for instance — in the different cultures an inequality that is also reflected in a much larger gender pay gap in Japan. And Cheng points out that these changing vocal dynamics may not always be an advantage for women, even in the countries where a deeper speaking voice is now more common.
The deeper speaking voices may be one audible sign of progress, but we clearly still have a long way to go before we eliminate those prejudices.
David Robson is a freelance writer based in the UK.
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