Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Jessica Grieser

Committee Members

Jessi Grieser, Tanita Saenkhum, Yen-Chen Hao


My thesis investigates creaky voice and how it functions interactionally within social situations, as well as how it is perceived by others. “Creaky voice” happens when a person speaks at their lowest range, also known as their “vocal fry.” This causes “a vocal effect produced by a very slow vibration of only one end of the vocal cords” (Crystal 1997, 98). I am interested in knowing which populations utilize creaky voice most. Additionally, I aim to explore how creaky voice is perceived by others. To conduct this investigation, I have conducted both a production and perception study. Within the production study, I have analyzed creaky voice within a focus group and an interview in an attempt to answer two questions. Within the production study, I analyze which gender creaks more overall and investigate what effect, if any, conversational entrainment has on the production of creaky voice. Within the perception study, I explore others’ perceptions of creaky voice by conducting a survey and having the participants rank the speakers they hear. They were presented a variety of voice recordings presenting both modal and creaky voice and were asked to rank the speakers based on attractiveness, intelligence, competency, and other character qualities. While all of my data analysis is not complete, I hypothesize that men creak more than women overall, and conversational entrainment has a positive effect on increased rates of creak during the later portions of both the focus group and interview from study one. I hypothesize that study two will reveal that speakers who utilize creaky voice are often perceived as more attractive by all genders but perceived as incompetent and untrustworthy by all genders as well.

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