I didn't know that! Issue #32- The human voice

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Interesting excerpts from Anne Karpf’s book, The Human Voice

Consonants [give] meaning to the words and vowels [supply] the emotion … The feelings behind a Shakespeare speech (but not its meaning) can be communicated by pronouncing only the vowels (p. 42)


With the exception of the muscles around the eyes, those of the human larynx have more nerves than any other muscles in the human body, including the hand and face, even though we only use around one-third of their capacity in speaking. Each can produce a different balance of forces in the larynx, generating a different pulse wave and sound quality. They’re our vocal palette: through them we colour our voices with affection, bitterness, pleasure, disgust, etc. (p. 27)


Though complex communication sounds are emitted by a whole range of animals, only three groups of mammals: humans, cetacean (whales and dolphins) and bats, and three groups of birds: parrots, hummingbirds, and songbirds have to learn them. In all the rest they’re innate. (p. 48)


More than half the world’s top 500 companies now outsource … to India, where over 170,000 people work in call centres. They must first complete a spell of ‘accent training’ … [where they learn to] repeat ‘can’t’ with a long ‘a’ after watching Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. (p. 193)