Hopefully you are never in a bad situation where you have to use this, but it is good to know in case it ever happens. Bad situations vary based on settings, circumstances, people involved, type of situation etc. If you go to the police (and please do to deter future similar crimes) to report an attack or a robbery, you can use sound to describe someone. Even if its the slightest detail that you pick up on, it can make a huge difference in finding this person. Do they speak fast, slow, low pitched, high pitched, did they use words that stood out, what did they say, why might they have said it. In this article I want to go over how to use your hearing to aid the police and hopefully get this person off the streets.
We use sound to easily identify friends and family over the phone, in a crowded venue, over an intercom, in the next aisle at a grocery store, when your child is crying you KNOW the sound. Here are some ways you can identify sound. Did they have an accent, lisp, speech impediment, slurr, slang, filler words, go to phrases.
DESCRIBING A VOICE
- breathy, wheezy: with loud breathing noises (this can be from running or being out of shape)
- brittle,quavering, wobbly,thick: if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry (This can be from an attacker being just as nervous as you are, they want the incident to go as smoothly on their end as possible, this can be a sign of someone who does not attack often or are new to being an offender)
- croaky: if someone’s voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low, rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat (If an attacker has a cold/flu sickness, that can be used to identify someone if they recently were seen at a hospital or friends/family know they are sick at that date and time, it can be easier for them to identify them if they see a posting on social media or the news)
- dead, or speaking in an undertone: if someone’s eyes or voice are dead, they feel or show no emotion (This can be a sign of someone with emotional detachment, a socio path, an experienced attacker, a previous offender, drunk or impaired)
- disembodied: a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see (they may have been hidden and giving instructions. This may be because they are afraid to be seen, you might recognize them, they are nervous, scared, inexperienced)
- flat, monotonous, toneless: spoken in a voice that does not go up and down, stays consistent in volume, speed, pauses, rhythm (this can be someone who is monotoned, or someone with emotional detachment who naturally talks with less expressive tones)
- gravelly, gruff, hoarse: a gravelly voice sounds low and rough (can be a sign of a heavy smoker)
- high-pitched: a high-pitched voice or sound is very high
- low, quietly, soft spoken, small: a low voice is quiet and difficult to hear (this can be used in putting together an attackers M.O.)
- nasally: someone with a nasal voice sounds as if they are speaking through their nose (this can be from being sick)
- strangled: a strangled sound is one that someone stops before they finish making it
- a voice like a foghorn, booming: very loud voice
Some of the most common dialects/accents in the U.S. include, southern accent, midwestern, new england, latin american, new york, philadelphia, west virginia, alaska, canadian, minnesota, mexican, chinese, british, australian, scotish, japanese, southwestern accent (y'all) etc.
Stuttering: When a person repeats the first half of the word before saying the word in its entirety. It also may involve the prolonging of a syllable or involuntary pauses. Stuttering can both be developmental or acquired. There are studies that indicate stuttering may be linked to low self-esteem, anxiety, or a traumatic experience from childhood. Picking up on this impediment can be useful for police in helping identify someone.
Apraxia of Speech: Apraxia involves the inconsistent producing and rearranging of speech sounds. For instance potato may become totapo. This disorder is evident from birth or acquired and can result from an injury/stroke.
Speech Sound Disorder: A speech sound disorder involves difficulty producing certain sounds. The sounds could include r,s,l,th,g,ch and sh
Cluttering: Cluttering is a speech disorder characterized by a rapid rate making speech difficult to understand, which in turn affects the person’s fluency. This can happen if the person has a tendency to speak really fast. This can also result when an individual continues to repeat themselves in order to try to make them understood.
Lisp: A lisp is a speech impediment in people who are struggling to produce the /s/ sound clearly. A frontal lisp is when a person pushes their tongue too far forward in the mouth. A lateral lisp produces a “slushy” sound because too much air is escaping out the sides of a child’s mouth.
SPEECH PATTERNS BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER SENTENCES
You know – This phrase is increasingly being used at the beginning of the sentence as a lead-in.
So – This one is usually at the beginning of a sentence, namely as a way to “manage” the conversation and sound fairly authoritative (or condescending).
I mean – A habitual way to start sentences for many people. It doesn't add much to a sentence but a lot people like to use it.
… right? – This one comes at the end of sentences, used to encourage or sometimes subtly force agreement on the listener.
Kind of (or sort of) – Used anywhere in the middle of a sentence. It’s sort of a way to soften, to be kind of… vague, imprecise and uncommitted.
Literally - A lot of people use this word as an exaggerated way to get their point across
These are all ways you can use sound to help describe someone to the police. This is part 1 of 5 series on this topic i'll be posting about soon. Thanks for reading and keep having a safe day!