Is there a word for how Josh Clark talks?
October 21, 2013 9:24 PM   Subscribe

Josh Clark, famed podcaster of Stuff You Should Know, has a very distinctive vocal timbre and set of pronunciation habits. Here's a video of him talking. Is there a word for the strange and particular way he pronounces things? I'd like to know, because my speaking voice is eerily similar to his, and he and I are the only people I know who talk like that. Is this a documented phenomenon?
posted by insteadofapricots to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, he's prone to uptalking, and he's got a little lisp.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:28 PM on October 21, 2013

The snarky asshole in me wants to say "Midwestern".

But in reality, I know exactly what you mean. And I have at least two friends who have the exact same distinctive style of speech. Neither of them are from the Midwest -- one is from Vermont and the other from New Jersey. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this phenomenon and whether it's a Thing or what.

I used to associate it with tongue piercings, but I think only one of my friends who talks like that has a pierced tongue, and I would be surprised if Josh Clark did.
posted by Sara C. at 9:37 PM on October 21, 2013

He sounds slightly Canadian to me.
posted by littlesq at 9:49 PM on October 21, 2013

As a Canadian I feel.... ambivalent about that. To me he just sounds like a thick tongued (and as ottereroticist mentioned: uptalky and a little lispy) American with no discernable regional accent.

I gather, though, that the lack of immediately obvious regional accent is what many americans seem to think makes Canadians sound Canadian. It could just be that the peculiarities on display here (poor but not terrible enunciation, matched with the aforementioned slight lisp) are distracting enough to over power more common telltales features of his speech.

The question reminds me a fair bit of others posted here concerning vocal fry except that I don't know of a catch-all term for the phenomena.
posted by mce at 9:57 PM on October 21, 2013

Some further Googling has revealed that we might just both have big tongues.

"In the normal speaker, tongue tip sounds /t, d, n, l, s, z/ are produced with the tip of the tongue behind the upper teeth. When the tongue is large, it can be difficult to place the tongue tip behind the upper teeth and the child produces these sounds with the body of the tongue against the bottom of the top teeth instead."

That's me. So it might just be that Josh Clark and I both have really big tongues, along with similar mannerisms.
posted by insteadofapricots at 10:10 PM on October 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

He sounds to me a lot like Mike Birbiglia.
posted by lookoutbelow at 12:30 AM on October 22, 2013

He sounds 'big-tongued' in the same way that Jamie Oliver does. Although with a completely different accent of course.
posted by pipeski at 2:32 AM on October 22, 2013

He sounds like a Michigander to me. In fact, he sounds EXACTLY like my ex, who is from Michigan. It isn't just the timbre, it's the pacing and the deadpan sarcasm. I actually struggled to listen to it at first because the resemblance is that eerie!

Michigander. Totally.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:26 AM on October 22, 2013

He doesn't sound at all unusual to me (but I also live in Michigan).
posted by silentbicycle at 7:20 AM on October 22, 2013

He sounds like someone who uptalks and has a big tongue - otherwise I notice no distinctive regional accent.
posted by ldthomps at 9:04 AM on October 22, 2013

I tried listening yesterday and didn't notice anything. Again today I tried, still nothing.

I am a Michigander.
posted by 58 at 10:13 AM on October 22, 2013

PSSST! Josh Clark is from Ohio.
posted by Sara C. at 10:21 AM on October 22, 2013

One of the podcasters almost completely accidentally severed their tongue when they were a kid. I'm sorry, I don't recall which podcast this information is divulged on, nor which podcaster was talking about it! I do recall that the other guy was very interested in this and didn't know about it.

It may have been the one on Parasites, or perhaps ticks, or serial killers - because those are the ones I recall listening to - but that may be simply because they were memorable episodes.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:00 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

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