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Nerd Nite Madison Podcast: The social life of the human voice

A sociolinguist explains why we perceive people’s voices the way we do.

A sociolinguist explains why we perceive people’s voices the way we do.

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A spectrogram of the human voice. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

A spectrogram of the human voice. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

This month in the Tone Madison/Nerd Nite Madison podcast series, UW-Madison sociolinguist Joshua Raclaw delves into the mechanics and complex social constructs surrounding the human voice. After an introduction to the vocal folds (short version: vocal folds look gross), Raclaw spends most of the talk examining the variations in vocal pitch and character across societies and genders, and sheds some light on why we perceive each other’s voices the way we do. Nerd Nite Madison is back at the High Noon Saloon this Wednesday, December 18 at 8 p.m. As always, it’s free and we’ll be there recording the talks for future podcasts.

Also, here are Raclaw’s presentation slides from the talk, in case you want to see gross pictures of gross vocal folds.

The Social Life Of The Human Voice by Scott Gordon

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