Difference between male and female voice

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Difference between male and female voice

#1  Postby aban57 » Jan 13, 2019 7:23 pm

I started working on the feminization of my voice. My speech therapist gave me this video so I can learn more on the topic (sorry it's in French, couldn't find something similar in English).



This video is made by another speech specialist fro Liège, Belgium, who's been studying the topic for some years now. She explains the different surgery techniques, the therapies and their results.
She explains that there is currently no research on the difference between male and female voice, and more importantly, between male and female speech patterns. Everything we know is based on anecdotal evidence. Like for example, the fact that women tend to have more variation in the tone in their sentences, or the fact that men tend to end sentences with a lower tone, rather than a higher one in women. Of course, speech patterns may vary from one langage to another, which could (partially) explain this situation. But this is the data they base their work on, by default.

But the underlying question is this : assuming they are indeed common and well spread in the general population, where do these speech patterns come from ? Are they only cultural ? Kids learning to speak like people around them of the same gender ? Is it biological (besides the natural height which is, obviously) ?
Has anyone here heard of any significant study on the subject ?
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#2  Postby I'm With Stupid » Jan 14, 2019 5:41 am

You'd have to establish a difference between men and women's intonation before we could speculate about the causes. From what I've read into the subject, intonation is an exceptionally difficult area to study. I'm an English teacher, and there used to be a lot of "rise-fall intonation shows surprise" kind of advice. But the limited amount of research in this area suggests that a lot of that is very culturally based, and there are quite big differences in this function of intonation between different English-speaking communities. So my initial thoughts would be that any male-female differences would be culturally based and localised within social groups.

The only thing I would suggest with a fair degree of confidence is that on average women's tonal range is at a higher pitch for biological reasons. I don't know of any research suggesting that they actually speak with a greater range between the highs and lows. Certainly some people speak with a greater range than others, and everyone can increase their tonal range if the situation requires it (public speaking, for example, or being polite on the phone).

So there might be some interesting differences between men and women's speech in individual languages, and within particular groups within those languages, but there are clearly also intrinsic differences between men and women's speech that applies to all language, which is why you could pretty accurately determine if a man or woman is speaking on a recording, even if it's in a language you don't know. On the other hand, if I was to ask you to determine whether an American speaker was white or black, you'd have to rely entirely on your knowledge of typical vernaculars for these groups, so it would obviously be far less reliable, and your powers would disappear completely as soon as you were asked to do the same task in a language you don't know.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#3  Postby Mike_L » Jan 14, 2019 6:37 am

Don't yawn! Yawning makes the voice go deeper... :grin:

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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#4  Postby Keep It Real » Jan 29, 2019 4:47 am

Men have deep voices and women have high pitched voices. Brought to you by sexist gender role stereotypes TM.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#5  Postby Fallible » Jan 29, 2019 8:06 am

There are some voice-over reports on TV where gender is not readily discernible. I have fun trying to work out if it's a low voiced woman or a high voiced man. My life is ace.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#6  Postby Evolving » Jan 29, 2019 8:34 am

I've noticed something very interesting. Whenever I talk on the phone to someone I don't know, they always call me madame (or the equivalent in whatever language we're speaking). Isn't that strange.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#7  Postby LucidFlight » Jan 29, 2019 8:44 am

Obligatory Seinfeld clip:

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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#8  Postby The_Piper » Jan 29, 2019 11:35 am

Weee! Bonus vintage Mr. Rogers poster hanging on the wall next to Kramer at the end. :lol: I almost forgot about that episode. There's definitely a lot of overlap between male and female voices, and occasionally it's difficult to discern them.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#9  Postby aban57 » Jan 29, 2019 12:45 pm

Keep It Real wrote:Men have deep voices and women have high pitched voices. Brought to you by sexist gender role stereotypes TM.


Yeah again, my point was not about the difference in pitches (which has biological explanations) , but the speech patterns. Pitch variations, speed, sometimes even the words chosen, there are definitely differences. Which might not be all gender-related, of course, that's why I'm trying to find studies on the subject.
For example, an introvert might have less pitch variation than an extrovert.
I think it's an interesting topic of study.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#10  Postby The_Piper » Jan 29, 2019 12:54 pm

All aspects of mammalian communication are fascinating. :)
As for female humans, upspeak and vocal fry are pretty popular in English speaking countries, and pronouncing words like happy "hahppy". :teef:
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#11  Postby Evolving » Jan 30, 2019 9:04 am

The_Piper wrote:... vocal fry ...


Really? I think I've only heard it from American women.

There's something similar in the Viennese accent of German, but it's gender neutral.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#12  Postby The_Piper » Jan 30, 2019 10:46 am

Evolving wrote:
The_Piper wrote:... vocal fry ...


Really? I think I've only heard it from American women.

There's something similar in the Viennese accent of German, but it's gender neutral.
I was only kidding around. I haven't noticed if other countries do that or not, but upspeak is common to other English-speaking countries, which was part of the same sentence.
There are men who vocal fry too, it's not only a female phenomenon, but it seems like more females do it than males. When talking to a female doctor of mine who vocal frys, I caught myself doing it too. :doh:
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#13  Postby Evolving » Jan 30, 2019 11:00 am

Lol, I find the pitch of my voice rising in those circumstances, in an unconscious attempt to compensate, I suppose.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#14  Postby Evolving » Jan 30, 2019 11:01 am

My daughter told me this morning that nobody says lol any more. Just old people like me.
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Re: Difference between male and female voice

#15  Postby The_Piper » Jan 30, 2019 11:38 am

Evolving wrote:Lol, I find the pitch of my voice rising in those circumstances, in an unconscious attempt to compensate, I suppose.

Evolving wrote:My daughter told me this morning that nobody says lol any more. Just old people like me.

:lol: I don't say lol out loud, but I type it in some platforms. I prefer using the smileys when applicable. No one calls them smileys anymore I bet. :lol:
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