Have you been told you sound like Valley Girl? You can change that!

If you have been told that you sound like a Valley Girl, it could be that when you speak, you make the fry sound, which sounds like an outboard motor on a boat. It is also called vocal fry or glottal fry or creaky voice.

Sounding like a Valley Girl could mean that when you speak, you make your vocal cords come together with a slap-like effort, which is called hard glottal onset and is heard in the “Oh” of the iconic Valley Girl “Oh my God!“ It makes a juvenile impression because children often use hard glottal onset.

Sounding like a Valley Girl could mean that you pronounce some of your vowels in a modified way (for example, “hat” sounds like “hot”), or you end phrases and sentences with a rise in pitch, sounding like you are questioning and uncertain (uptalk or upspeak).

These traits are most, but not all, of the characteristics of ValSpeak. They are just vocal habits that you have learned. Maybe you don’t speak with all of these behaviors. Some people have become habituated to speaking with only one or two of them. Maybe you are a man who speaks with some of them. Many Gen X and Millennial men, not just women, speak with vocal fry or with hard glottal onset or with uptalk.

ValSpeak traits can make you sound disinterested (vocal fry can sound tired/bored) or inexperienced and inconfident (the uncertain quality of uptalk). These impressions are equal opportunity: it’s not just ValSpeak women who make these impressions. Men who use these traits make these impressions, too.

It is possible to learn to stop using these behaviors. You will then hear your voice in its essence without these traits interfering. And you won’t be hindered by the undesirable vocal image that they present.

Valley Girl Speak

Valley Girl Speak

Actress Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live has played Karina on a spoof soap opera entitled, “The Californians.”

As Karina, she does a good caricature of Valley Girl Speak, especially the hard glottal onset and the modified vowels.