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That's unbelieeeevable! (Masculinizing Inflection)

exercise sentence contour voice masculinization Mar 02, 2023
Image of Reneé inside a phone screen saying "That's Unbelieeevable" with the title Masculinizing Inflection on a blue banner

When we talk about inflection, we're talking about emphasizing certain words in a sentence to give that sentence meaning. English is a highly inflected language, so sometimes the meaning of a sentence can change when you add emphasis to one word or another. For example, the sentence "I never stole your money" changes depending on which part of the sentence you add emphasis to:

"I never said I stole your money."

"I never said I stole your money."

"I never said I  stole your money."

Changing which word you emphasize gives a different meaning to that sentence. You can listen to my example in the video above.

So how can we emphasize our sentences in a way that is more masculine versus feminine? A feminine way to inflect is to emphasize using pitch. To do so, we add a high pitch to the word we want to emphasize. Let's take the phrase "That's unbelievable!" If I increase the pitch on the "-lieve" part of "believe," is sounds more feminine.

To say the same phrase in a more masculine way, we can either add more volume on that same section or draw it out and make it longer while staying on the same pitch "That's unbelieeeevable." Again, you can listen to me demonstrate these on the video above. I actually find longer vs. louder a little bit easier. It's easier just to hold something a little longer than to try and modify your volume. 

Give it a try on a sentence that you're working on right now!

Hi, I'm Renée! (they/them)

I'm a queer, nonbinary, and disabled singer, songwriter and gender-affirming voice teacher. 

I've been a voice teacher for over twelve years, I have four full-length albums out, and I have degrees in physics, jazz, and songwriting.

I love creating, I love figuring things out, but most of all, I love helping people.

Learn more about me

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