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  1. #1
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    Default rant: baby voices

    There are certain 16-year-old girls in my classes who have acquired the habit of making requests using baby voices. In regular conversation they use regular voices, but when they approach me wanting something from me, they switch into a shy, childish voice. It drives me up the wall. My first inclination is to snap at them and refuse the request simply because the voice is so irritating. I have to pause and remind myself that what they're asking is generally pretty reasonable. I could like these girls if they'd lose the self-conscious pretense and the voice that accompanies it.

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faith View Post
    There are certain 16-year-old girls in my classes who have acquired the habit of making requests using baby voices. In regular conversation they use regular voices, but when they approach me wanting something from me, they switch into a shy, childish voice. It drives me up the wall. My first inclination is to snap at them and refuse the request simply because the voice is so irritating. I have to pause and remind myself that what they're asking is generally pretty reasonable. I could like these girls if they'd lose the self-conscious pretense and the voice that accompanies it.
    It sounds to me like they might just be nervous about asking you for something. Some times people adopt a shy, childish voice like that when they're nervous. On the other hand, it could be some kind of weird mocking. It sounds a little different based on which it is... does it have a hint of being hesitating and weak, or is it kind of loud and showy?

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    Do you think it is something they do consciously, or they are just reverting into a mode they unconsciously use to receive a potentially more affirmative answer?

    Jen Boylan (a college prof up in Maine) talks about how she noticed that students of hers always talked as if they were unsure of their answer, by putting a twist on the end of their sentences so it sounded more like a question... and it infuriated her until she caught herself doing it.

    Example:
    "Hi, I'm Jenny Boylan, what's your name?"
    "Amanda? I'm in your morning class?"

    The girl knows her name, but the sentence is less about providing information and more about building consensus... so the tentative approach is used to allow the listener to "affirm" what was just said, thus making the conversation less combative and more cooperative.

    Does that sound like what they're doing, or do you think there might be some other reason?

    (If they are doing it consciously, to be cutesy, then rant away!)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    There are grown women (25-40) in my office that do that as well. They aren't nervous about asking, it's just a pretense. I don't know why they think it's cute or that it will get them what they want faster because I just look at them very quizzically and ask why are they talking like that. One of them does this regularly and once she started playing with my sleeve while she was doing it. Oh, the perils of working with too many women!:rolli:

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    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faith View Post
    There are certain 16-year-old girls in my classes who have acquired the habit of making requests using baby voices. In regular conversation they use regular voices, but when they approach me wanting something from me, they switch into a shy, childish voice. It drives me up the wall. My first inclination is to snap at them and refuse the request simply because the voice is so irritating. I have to pause and remind myself that what they're asking is generally pretty reasonable. I could like these girls if they'd lose the self-conscious pretense and the voice that accompanies it.
    It's an attempt to manipulate. Don't be affected by it.

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    I think I may do this subconsciously, but certaintly not on purpose but I don't know I'll ask one of my friends sometime. but normally when I'm nervous and asking a question my voice gets quieter and I sometimes address the person as sir or mam respectively. It usually goes something like this "um excuse me [sir] but i was wondering if i could um *insert request* i mean if it's not too much trouble." then after he answers "thank you, have a good day". So yeah i guess you can't snap at someone doing it subconsciously but if they are doing it on purpose I don't know, but personally if something I'm doing is annoying to a person I'd like to know. I mean it may hurt at first but in the long run it's better. So I think you should bring it up to them.IMO
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    My mom does this when she talks on the telephone. It's sooooo annoying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    It sounds to me like they might just be nervous about asking you for something. Some times people adopt a shy, childish voice like that when they're nervous. On the other hand, it could be some kind of weird mocking. It sounds a little different based on which it is... does it have a hint of being hesitating and weak, or is it kind of loud and showy?
    I'm pretty sure they do it because they've learned it's the best way to get what they want--not from me, but in general. It actually reminds me of a very annoying puppy who bites the big dogs ears and drives them mad, then rolls over on his back and goes all, "Who? Me? I'm just a harmless little puppy!" when the big dog growls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alcearos View Post
    It's an attempt to manipulate. Don't be affected by it.
    Oh yes, it's absolutely an attempt to manipulate. That's why it irritates me so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Example:
    "Hi, I'm Jenny Boylan, what's your name?"
    "Amanda? I'm in your morning class?"

    The girl knows her name, but the sentence is less about providing information and more about building consensus... so the tentative approach is used to allow the listener to "affirm" what was just said, thus making the conversation less combative and more cooperative.

    Does that sound like what they're doing, or do you think there might be some other reason?

    (If they are doing it consciously, to be cutesy, then rant away!)
    Ha--I'm very familiar with this questioning/statement style. I believe it's less common in the south because southerners tend to drop their tone at the end of their sentences, but you definitely find it around here with certain types of girls. When I went to school in the midwest, I almost went insane because everyone used it! It was like nails on a chalkboard.

    These girls, however, are doing it to be cutsey and thereby manipulate the person into agreeing with their request. It involves a distinct change of pitch and cadence, often accompanied by cocking the head to the side, smiling hopefully and batting eyes, and making some gesture of feminine uncertainty (playing gently with fingernails or necklace or hair).

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