Sisterhood Blog

Talking While Jewess

By Elissa Strauss

On the recent episode of Lexicon Valley, a podcast on Slate about “the mysteries of English,” podcaster and NPR On the Media host Bob Garfield caused quite the controversy when he took on what he finds to be an incredibly irritating verbal tic among young women.

“It’s almost exclusively among women and young women at that.” … “At some point, as they utter a sentence or phrase, somewhere between half way and the very end of the phrase, something happens to their voice as if they have a catch in their throat.”

This “catch in their throat” is know as vocal fry, and sounds kind of like a quick “ur’ mid-syllable. He goes on to call this obnoxious, vulgar and annoying.

These words, said with the typical steady, knowing lilt of a NPR host, did not go over well among women, including myself, who has often felt shame while doing what I think of as talking while Jewess.

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