Unless you’re a complete recluse, you probably use your voice many times a day, whether talking to your spouse, chatting with co-workers, or singing along to music in the car. Yet, you’ve probably never thought all that much about something that’s literally happening right under your nose.
My guest today says that once you do start thinking about your voice, it reveals fascinating secrets to who you are. His name is John Colapinto and he’s the author of This Is the Voice. John and I begin our conversation with what exactly the voice is, how the voice develops in babies, why men and women speak in lower and higher voices, and what each sex finds attractive in the voice of the other. We then discuss why people develop accents, and how these accents set boundaries as to who is in and who is out of a group. We dig into the modern phenomena of vocal fry and uptalk, and how, when you end everything in a question, it can sound like you’re a submissive supplicant. We get into how singing makes us feel super vulnerable, and why modern pop music can sound soulless when its inherent imperfections are stripped out. We end our conversation with the way our voices degrade as we age, and John’s call to own and use your voice.
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- What is our voice?
- Why are humans the only animals that have a voice?
- When did humans start speaking? How did that change our thinking?
- How does a baby go from babble to language
- Why men and women have a different octave of voice (unlike every other mammal)
- Why do we have accents?
- What’s with “up talk” and “vocal fry”? Why are younger people in America speaking like this?
- The fascinating ability of humans to pick up on subtle emotions
- Why is it that singing makes us feel so vulnerable?
- Why “perfect” music is actually disconcerting to listen to
- What happens to your voice as you age
Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in Podcast
- Develop a Strong He-Man Voice
- How to Improve Your Speaking Voice
- The Winston Churchill Guide to Public Speaking
- Chomsky’s On Language
- Human Language by Philip Lieberman
- How to Learn Another Language
- Dialect Diversity in America by William Labov
- The Lost Pleasures of Group Singing
- Switched on Pop
Connect With John
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Read the Transcript