Media

Scientists Study Jill Abramson’s Speech, Find it Unusual

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Linguists have actually taken measures to study the famously unusual speech patterns of New York Times executive editor and noted dog-lover Jill Abramson. A video of Abramson talking, in case you’re unaware:

You’ll be shocked to know that scientists at Penn have found that Abramson’s speech differs from other people’s.

Emphasis ours:

It’s quite common to see phrase-final low-pitched stretches in which alternate pitch periods start to vary systematically in amplitude. This can result in an abrupt apparent doubling in period (and a corresponding halving in fundamental frequency). A clinical variant of this is called “diplophonia”, but most people do it sometimes — it’s a natural consequence of oscillation in non-linear physical systems, and is a specific instance of the phenomenon of “period doubling” much loved by complexity buffs. I’ve sometimes seen period-tripling. But this is first time that I’ve ever seen such a large-factor amplitude modulation so stably superimposed on a speaker’s sequence of pitch pulses.

Science has spoken.

Also, if you’re into this kind of thing, here’s a podcast of Abramson talking about The Puppy Diaries.

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

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