Perceptions of Vocal Fry by English L2 Undergraduate Students in Korea

Seoyoung Kim, Sueah Lee, Max Watson


Vocal fry, also known as glottalization, is prevalent in the U.S. Many studies have been conducted regarding listener perceptions, but there is a lack of research targeting the perceptions of Asians, specifically Koreans, who speak English as a second or other language. Setting the goal of finding out the perceptions of Korean university students toward vocal fry as the purpose of this study, student listeners were queried on their perceptions of vocal fry acceptability between speakers demonstrating vocal fry and speaking conventionally. The basis of this study is a survey presenting paired audio samples in a random order of young U.S. native English speakers speaking twice: once conventionally and once with vocal fry. The questions seek to uncover listener perceptions of the acceptableness and professionality of vocal fry. The result of the survey, conforming to our hypothesis, is that vocal fry is perceived negatively, especially for young female speakers. Also, listeners report a higher-than-average negative correlation for vocal fry when the speaker is imagined as a professor. These results suggest that college-aged Koreans, like the general U.S. populace, express negative perceptions of speakers demonstrating vocal fry.


vocal fry, glottalization, English linguistics, Korea

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