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Does your Speech stamp you?
London University joins Daily Express in notable new experiment
TRUE-LIFE 'PROFESSOR HIGGINS' AND HIS TEAM FACE TAPE-RECORDER TEST TO TELL WHAT FAMOUS VOICES GIVE AWAY
THE laboratory was quiet, except for a woman's tape-recorded voice. Five scientists listened and, without knowing who the woman was, they said: "She's large and fat." They listened more, then: "She doesn't bother too much about clothes, she's square cut, motherly, responsible, aged between 55 and 60." Then I told them who the woman was. Mrs. Bessie Braddock, M.P., who is all they said. Motherly and responsible. Large, certainly plump. And 59.
DOES voice reveal character? Or age and job? Can you hide your origin by putting on a new voice as Professor Higgins made Eliza do in Shaw's "Pygmalion"? Or must your voice ALWAYS give you away?
It was an extraordinary experiment for this reason: it had never, so far as these scientists know, been carried out before and they predicted almost total failure.
[I have snipped tests of people like Ronald Squire, T.S. Eliot, Diana Wynard, conducted by a team of psychologists, phoneticians, and singing teachers.]
THEN Sabrina. She recited for me a verse called, I believe, "Think Big," and she also read a bit from a newspaper. It all took about three minutes and here is the result.
Ulmson: Aged between 20 and 25. Filmish.
YES, Sabrina has guts. She knew, like the rest, she might be in for a pretty brutal dissection but, like the rest, she hasn't many pretensions.
All she said when I recorded her was: "I hope they don't think I'm Lancashire. I'm Cheshire, born in Stockport."
Page Created: 23 Sept 2012
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