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Nathaniell C.

L201 – S 2:00-5:00 PM
Journal No. 2 – August

The Voice

“Our voice is deeply expressive of who we are. In some sense, I can say that I speak
through my mouth. But in some sense, my culture speaks through me.” – While watching the
BBC documentary entitled “The Voice”, I heard this statement from Anne Karpf, one of the
video’s resource persons, and I must say that it is really the most striking part of the
documentary for me. Before, what I only know about voice are the basic science facts and
concepts such as how our articulators work whenever we are speaking, how our vocal folds
actually function, and how our voice can be affected by several physiological factors. But
after hearing the abovementioned statement of Karpf, I must admit that I really learned
something that is very new to my system.
Through the documentary, Karpf introduced to me the concept of accommodation or
convergence which basically says that we constantly tend to change our voice depending on
who we are speaking with or on who we are talking to and that each of us could have at least
50 different voices as we naturally opt to vary the sound of our voice from time to time. From
this, I realized that though we may be producing same words with exactly the same meaning,
our voice can still actually change in terms of the prosodic features of speech that we are
producing such as our tone, intonation, tempo, etc. We vary our voice depending on how we
see and how we value the person that we are talking to. Hence, our voice variation is indeed a
great reflection of how our minds work towards socialization and communication. Moreover,
I also realized that to our advantage, we can actually use the micro shifts that we can make
with our voice to either reduce or increase our social distance and interactions. And these all
boil down to another new learning that I got from the documentary, which is the concept of
vocal learning. This concept tells us that the way speak is a result of so many factors such as
where we grew up, our sub-culture groups, our social class, our individual psychology, and
our individual identity. Therefore, we can actually believe that just through our voice, the
world can immediately tell who we really are as a person.
Indeed, voice is really one of the most salient features of our identity that make us
human. To other creatures, our ability to articulate almost everything that we want to
articulate is what makes us enigmatic. But as humans, our ability to speak is more than that;
our voice and our capacity to use our voice meaningfully are the precious gifts that the
universe gave us for us to know who we are and other people, for us to express who we really
are, and for us to socially experience the world from all its colors and shades.