In this unit, we learned about the power and need for language. We learned the different applications of language. This essay talking about the pitches and tones that I use to define myself.
The air around me was chilly, just like winter should be. I shifted my fists a bit deeper into my hoodie pocket, but it only let them go so far. I raised my lip towards my nostrils to check and see if my nose a bit cold. Of course it was, I was sitting on a ledge near a large window in the middle of January. I held my legs closer together and to my body. I shifted my eyes around me and everybody was basically doing them same thing, trying to keep warm. It sounds stupid that we’re sitting near a window in the middle of winter, but there was nowhere else quiet to go. SLA is a loud place in itself, with very few quiet areas. Anyways, it was the normal meeting spot for me and my friends during lunch: Peter, Edgar, Gabby, and Tytianna.
Everyone was talking, talking like they do with friends. We were joking around, making fun of each other and other things. I happened to use my naturally deep and smooth voice, in which I use around people I’m comfortable and close with. “... and then I told my mom no, and then I swear she was gonna -- “ I stopped right in my tracks. I heard footsteps of an unfamiliar person coming towards us. I naturally paused myself because what I was about to say could basically offend any teacher or adult nearby, so I hushed until whoever passed on by. Well it turned out to be Mr. Latimer, my Algebra 2 teacher. I actually had a question to ask him about my standard retake, to see if he got it for next week.
“Hey Mr. Latimer, I have a question to ask,” I asked in a higher-pitched tone, which I use for teachers and adults and the like. It was natural for me to do such a thing. Mr. Latimer perked his eyebrows up, signalling I could keep going. “Did you get my standard submission for next week? I was just wondering because I wasn’t sure you got it or not ... “ I ended in a quiet voice, still quite high-pitched in comparison to my voice from before. It wasn’t as smooth and didn’t flow out my mouth like it did when I spoke to my friends. “Yeah, I got it,” he said nonchalantly. I smiled and nodded, and he walked away like nothing ever happened.
I’ve always switched between tones and the pitch of my voice. I do it subconsciously, out of pure instinct. I usually notice the way I’m talking with certain people in comparison to others. It’s not like a switch between slang and standard english. It’s a switch between the tone and pitch of my voice. Naturally, it’s deep. Not a grown man’s deep, but deeper than the average female. I’m able to speak in different pitches and tones. With my friends, I tend to use my unchanged, natural voice. It sounds really deep, especially when I get back from talking to someone I don’t talk to often. When around people I’m just acquainted with, my voice tends to raise an octave, becoming a bit more feminine than usual. Then with complete and utter strangers, I use a very quiet and light voice that can be barely heard. It’s not like I necessarily do it because I want to, it’s just natural.
When my voice changes, I feel a little bit of me curl up in the corner and hide away. Using a light voice doesn’t make me feel completely like myself; it’s like I lose a part of myself. I’ve been a bit embarrassed about my voice ever since I was little. Everywhere I went girls had high - pitched voices that sounded feminine. I wanted to be like them, to sound like them. It was even worse when I heard my voice recorded, when I didn’t hear it come out my own mouth. It sounded manly and disgusting, like sharp metal pieces grinding against each other in imperfect harmony. I believe I started to use different pitches around different people because I was embarrassed about how I sounded. Using the higher-pitched voice around people I didn’t know made me sound prettier and nicer than I usually sound. It was like creating a separate identity for the people who didn’t know me.
Everybody bases their thinking of a person on the first impression. Society bring forth these “rules” and expectations that females must sound like females and males must sound like males. Based upon what you sound, look, and act like, people will judge you accordingly. During first meetings, job interviews, even paying for something at a cash register someone will judge you on how you sound and speak. No one wants to sound ugly or funny to someone else. Everybody wants to sound like the way they’re supposed to. Some even go to the extent of changing their voice boxes to make their voice different and more pleasurable. And then you have people like me who just simply change the pitch and tone of their voice when around different people. When you think about it, it’s a shame. It’s a shame that we have to change the way we speak around others to make others happy. We lose ourselves when we try to change the way other people look at us. We feel like if we make others happy regarding us, we’ll be happy too. Personally, I would love to stop changing my voice around others, but it’s harder than you think.