A Linguist Explains Why Popular YouTubers Sound The Same

There’s no doubt the most successful folks on YouTube, for better or worse, speak a little…differently. I’ve never seen a close examination of what’s unique about so-called “YouTube voice,” but it doesn’t surprise me if people, consciously or not, stumbled upon new ways to keep people’s attention. Certainly, I speak differently when I’m streaming versus chatting with someone at the bar, but after reading this, I’ve becoming far more paranoid about it!

Here’s an excerpt:

Naomi Baron is a professor of linguistics at American University who studies electronically mediated communication. She watched some videos that I sent her, and was very patient with my continued pleas of, “No, but I feel like something is going on here.” And so here, thanks to Baron, are the linguistic components of YouTube voice:

Overstressed vowels: A lot of the time, people are lazy about pronouncing certain vowels — they’re un-emphasised and neutral, and just sort of hang loosely in the middle of the mouth, making an “euh” sound, regardless of which vowel it actually is. This “euh” is called the schwa. (Hear it pronounced here.) When you make the effort to actually pronounce a vowel that is usually a schwa, that’s a way of emphasising the word. For example: “If I say the word ‘exactly,’ you don’t really know what that first vowel is. ‘Euh,'” Baron says. “If I say ‘eh-xactly,’ you have the sound ‘eh,’ like in the word ‘bet.'”

Sneaky extra vowels between consonants: Listen to the way Rugnetta says “trapping” at 35 seconds here. “Terraping.” “I’ve added a little vowel between the t and the r,” Baron says. “It elongates the word, it adds an extra syllable to the word, it emphasises the word. There’s a name for this: epenthetic vowel.”

[By Patrick Keplek] [Read More] [From Kotaku] [Image From moviepilot.com]