Transcription and translation is a 24/7 job. To be the best at what you do, you must know how to differentiate between certain sounds. Success in your work depends on how good a technical description you can provide. Annoying teenage sounds are perhaps the most difficult to interpret but fear not, because there are terms for irritating babble. Let’s breakdown grunts and groans into understandable summaries.
1.Voiceless velar affricate – This cocky sound could be spelled “kkh.” The noise is made from the back of the mouth (velar) and begins with a stop (affricate). It becomes a fricative when the hissy “fff” or “sss” sound is made.
2.Glottal stop, reduced mid central unrounded vowel, long glottal fricative – Picture teenagers rolling their eyes and making sighs of exasperation. This sound has “hhhhh” (long glottal fricative) and “uhhhhh” (mid central unrounded vowel).
3.Creaky voiced long alveolar glide with mid front unrounded vowel and glottal stop – An arrogant “yeah”, this short version sounds like “yyyyeh.” The vowel ends abruptly, following the (creaky voiced) opening glide.
4.Breathy voiced long low back unrounded vowel with advanced tongue root – This is the classic teenage “auuggghhh.” Vocal folds are spaced apart (breathy voice) and the back of the tongue moves forward (advanced tongue root). The tongue doesn’t rise in the mouth (low back) and the lips aren’t rounded (unrounded).
5.Voiced alveolar stop and breathy voiced low-back unrounded vowel, sometimes with advanced tongue root – This “duhhh” noise is made to sound stupid with the tongue root making a hollow sound.
6.Pulmonic ingressive nasal velar trill – The tongue blocks the back of the mouth (nasal) and the inhaling (pulmonic ingressive) is followed by the “r” rolling (trill). The tip of the tongue is not rolled (velar).
7.Glottal fricative and breathy voiced mid-low central unrounded vowel – This cheeky laugh is breathy voiced and spelled “hehhehheh” or “huhhuhhuh.”
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