23 Nov 2015, 2:04pm
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Speaking Voices

Women are changing their vocal niche.

Over the past 50 years, women’s voices have dropped significantly. Although women’s voices normally register a full octave higher than men’s voices, today they’re just 2/3rds of an octave higher. [source]

What’s the cause? Equity therefore no need to emphasize distinctions and status difference? In the same timeframe women have almost all got suffrage, are permitted to inherit property, own, rather than be owned and work in many of the same areas as men as men are permitted to be stay at home dads with less flack.

Speech habit is local.In Japan, women have a higher default pitch than English speakers here. T[here’s a Northern Cities Vowel Shift south of the border but how you talk is a function of who you talk with so the vowel shift hasn’t happened in Canada. Would accent shift be related to power? A digression for another day.] Gender and accent are related,

“Women are always at the forefront of the language front,” he said, at least when people are unaware of the trend’s presence. Linguists are not sure why. But they do know that the shift is spreading quickly because it carries no stigma–at least for the most part. [a href=”http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2007-04-10/haynie-vowelshift.html”>source]

As taller are perceived as more dominant, so are deeper voices. Toronto Councillor Karen Stintz lesson to go slower and lower. Why? Pitch and nasality correlates not just with apparent confidence but competence.

Margaret Thatcher got voice lessons from Laurence Olivier to lower her voice by 60 Hertz. She’s not the only one. Australian women speak on average 23 hertz lower than they did in the 1940s.

Society tends to the relaxed, white, heteronormative male as ideal. What position does that put everyone?

Take a deep breath voice.

Why would power be related to pitch?

I’d say that authority tends towards the deepest voice because a person who is relaxed and self-assured confidence is riding a deep breath which results in resonance, projection and more people able to hear and therefore follow.

Fear and illness result in a thin voice and is an indicator of problem. Less dominant people tend to talk from throat squeak, not diaphragm. There are structural differences in size of resonant chamber and shape and function of voice box that make the male more likely to emulate the pitch range of confidence. Those physics unconsciously drive the idea that male is authority.

Subversive to authority in this binary is that higher pitches are a marked form as lower status, as in female, gay, child, and East Indian stereotype.

It’s not only pitch but speed and control.


To be rushed is to be defensive, trying to say more before being cut off. To speak quickly is lower status compared to speaking with pauses which is a power gambit to make others wait for you. If the group doesn’t accept that alpha display, the power will be taken in the gap.


Masculinity is traditionally encoded as less emotive display, less intonation variance.

Male talking to male may deepen voice and flattens intonational curve for competing authority, dominance until pecking order is hashed out.

Females are projected as inherently more emotional and can display more intonation shift. Because female has a vestigial connection with contemptuous disempowerment, the sound range also tend to suggest less authority.


Controlled voice, controlled movements but with variation and resonance model being engaged with speech in order for the audience to be engaged.

A compelling performance strikes a balance between vocal variations and movement without there being too much movement.

Rapid, frequent and large gestures demand attention in an amateur-theatre or panicked way.


A male performing words extends into more emotionalism than gender norm.

A female converges towards male in less inflection than standard female caricature.

To speak publicly is a stylistic that is working in different ways.

Speaking one-on-one we can have a quiet background, speaker and listener monitoring one another for body language and uptake, interject for clarification, can speak in a muddier fashion, slushing consonants because there is that latitude.

In a noisy environment, one needs crisper articulation, more clear structure of thought because something will be lost to competing signals so there is less room for connecting dots. It is more necessary to speak slower with more pauses to become distinct as a pattern against background conversation and to signal power.

Chapbooks! Fair’s fair!

new chapbook!
Aren’t they pretty? I finally got a minute to take a look at my new title! today’s woods came out on Saturday at the Ottawa small press fair. It comes with subscription packages of above/ground.

It is play in the story of the three bears, legends and cultural cartoons of bears versus real information of real bears. For example,

Scenario A, they were called away from the meal on emergency
and to add insult to injury came home to a home invasion.

dad entered first. don’t go by size or slender frame: I’ve seen
large sows that could mistakenly be identified as males

The thing I like from the fair is seeing what’s new, making one of my biggest income days of the year, and how it’s like a reunion; a chance to chat with people, new and familiar. Great to talk to people. For a relative hermit like me, spending most time writing at home, it’s a social extravaganza.

It’s fun to see people go all bug-eyed at the plethora. I offered one little kid a wooden heart and he went to eat it. The dad caught the hand. Kid looked confused. Apparently when adults offer kids things, it’s usually food. Or else there’s an eat impulse.

Other things of the fair:
books & chapbooks & ephemera
Including various things I’ve been meaning to get for a while. I have much reading ahead of me.

Some is done. Bird Facts as wonderful on the page. And letterpress pretties.

I was pretty tied to my table by running it myself. Next time I’ll get someone with me again so I can run about more. (I’ll add that to my list of things to prepare for fair. A list helps. Or else I forget key things, like lunch, or a tablecloth, or a float.)

pearl at phafours,
With wearing my CKCU swag. Christian McPherson took my photo:
Christian mcPherson

Also across the way was in/words
in/words table

and Margaret Virany with her 3rd book:
Margaret Virany

My table with things I composed, or edited, or published under my press phafours.

Last fair people more often wanted to buy mini chapbooks individually. This time, packaged ones of the fall set or the spring set were the thing. (But then, it only takes a few people to make a pattern from randomness.)

The wood veneer bookmarkets were suprisingly popular as covet-items. I’ll have to make more of those. It’s a sapele wood veneer (an African mahogany).

Monty Reid’s Kissing Bug was the most popular by number sold, and by those who came by just to ooh.

As Sean Moreland wisely pointed out, some pay with appreciation and encouragement as the currency. Some pay cash. Both payments cheerfully accepted.

I’ll be at Meet the Presses in Toronto on the 22nd. That’ll be my first time there. A lot of presses I admire. (Shelves, are you ready for this?)

Other new books and chapbooks that came in over the last couple weeks:
(Missing a few that are on the lam somewhere in the house.) More are coming in the mail.

The last two weeks and the next three are pretty hectic then the five weeks after I can make large blocks for sustained projects.

Another post at pesbo soon, likely.

25 Jun 2014, 1:57pm

Say it with Flowers

Wordless Wednesday
A bouquet

Peonies season is short and closing.

I don’t think I noticed the buds are red when closed before. They looks like a city cousin of Evening Primrose

Inside the bells.

Do you know about, speaking to Ontarians here, name that wildflower? It is sorted by color pages.

Rain in the yellow daylilies.

Rain collecting in the serviceberry

22 Apr 2014, 12:35pm

Old Things

Most of what exists is without pedigree. How did it come into one’s possession? From where? What makes a 1935 still exist while so much else passes away?

An old school desk gives me a half-mind to refinish it but where would I put it? Life is full and yet more things fit. Flip-flop-flip.

lichen mitt
A torn work mitt shoved on a picket on a whim how many years ago never left again. But why should it?

I like the cut of its jib, the upright nap of it.

This angle pleases as well.

There’s as much sense to one thing as to any other. As much as friendship between individuals who happen to be an owl and a cat.

Our World Tuesday

19 Apr 2014, 10:54am
1 comment

Season’s Turn

endangered snow
What prevailed is now rare.

Lifting the ground cover.

Lifting the earth itself.

Already a season is ending.

lilac bush buds
A lilac bush bud of leaf about as exciting as its flower buds will be later.

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