We've all either experienced or heard of the teenage (or just beyond) YouTube sensations that have millions of followers and hundreds of millions of views, but is there something that's common between them? Business and presentation aside, The Atlantic attempted to find out by asking a few linguists to determine the characteristics of a "YouTube voice." Here's what they discovered.
1. Overstressed vowels: Emphasizing a vowel that would normally pass loosely in the middle of the mouth.
2. Extra vowels between consonants: Elongating a word by adding an extra syllable to it so it's emphasized. The name for this is epenthetic vowel.
3. Long vowels: Stretching out vowels is another common way of emphasizing words, but sometimes they're just only slightly longer than normal.
4. Long consonants: Especially those at the beginning of words.
5. Aspiration: From the article - “If you put your finger in front of your mouth, I'll teach you a very quick phonology lesson,” Baron said. I did. “Are you ready? Say ‘keep.’”
“Now say ‘geep.’”
“When you said keep, did you feel a breath of air on your finger?” She asked. (Indeed I did.) “That’s called an aspiration.” There’s normally an aspiration on the K, even if you say it normally, but if you huff and puff a little more, that makes the word stand out."
The “YouTube voice” is just a variety of ways of emphasizing words, but they're actually things that people do all the time. YouTube vloggers need to keep the viewer's attention, so they do them a little more.
It's interesting, though, that one linguist called it an "intellectual used-car-salesman voice."
Check the original article for some great examples. Could this be something that you can include in your YouTube videos?