Sharp intake of breath. I'm standing in the lineup for Via, in Toronto, and behind me a couple of youngsters are chatting away. "Like" occurs with the regularity of automatic rifle fire, as deadly to normal speech as a stammer; I want to look away, wring my hands. Is it because, increasingly, communication is mediated by screens rather than face-to-face?
Someone has also dinned it into young women not to raise the voice at the end of a statement. ("I'm thinking of applying for that new job? The pay's so much better? And I won't have that long commute?") The new "thing" is to lower the voice at the end of a sentence so that it loses all musicality and becomes a rasp between clenched teeth. It's hard to listen to.
One of the most beautiful voices around is that of Shelagh Rogers, on CBC radio. Smooth, sexy, melodious, with a hint of mischief and a wicked laugh. She sounds as though she's having an intimate tete-a-tete with an imagined bedmate. For a while Massena, NY, had a woman announcer with the sultriest voice imaginable too--though she was unremarkable to look at, like a nightingale. But male listeners would obsess about her.
The human voice is a powerful instrument. I'm so much in awe of what a good actor can do with it, and what a turn-on a beautiful voice can be. I hate to see it wasted.