Speaking in foreign tongues? It may lead to vocal fatigue, voice disorders, say scientists!

Researchers found that speaking a foreign language causes changes in voice, especially in pitch. Acoustical and perceptual analyses supported the subjective notions.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: May 14, 2017, 23:14 PM IST
Speaking in foreign tongues? It may lead to vocal fatigue, voice disorders, say scientists!
Image courtesy: The HR Digest

New Delhi: Being fluent in various languages is considered a sign of proficiency and an asset to your skills.

Interpreters are required all over the world and in some countries, the knowledge of more than one language is compulsory. Besides that, various professions, jobs and organisations give preference to a prospective employee who is well-versed with various languages.

However, what we never thought that fluency in foreign languages could be detrimental to health. It's true! Scientists have said that speaking in a foreign language may cause to vocal fatigue, that can lead to voice disorders.

Researchers from University of Tampere in Finland asked 20 Finnish and 23 English speakers to read a text in their native language and then in other foreign language.

Text reading and spontaneous speech samples were recorded in native and foreign language (English and Finnish).

A questionnaire was used to gather people's subjective notions of changes in voice caused by the shift from speaking the native language to speaking the foreign language. The samples were then acoustically and perceptually analysed.

Researchers found that speaking a foreign language causes changes in voice, especially in pitch. Acoustical and perceptual analyses supported the subjective notions.

They found that the voice was in many cases more pressed in the foreign language than in the native one.

Pressedness adds loading of the vocal folds. Also, dose measurements of vocal loading a trend towards more loading in the foreign language was found, researchers said.

"Speaking a foreign language and the changes it causes can have far-reaching consequences, as more pressed voice production can result in subjective symptoms of vocal fatigue and overloading of the vocal folds," said Kati Jarvinen from University of Tampere.

"Overloading of the vocal folds may cause voice problems and actual voice disorders," Jarvinen said.

(With PTI inputs)