Recently a possibly new speech pattern has come to my attention and I am wondering whether it is genuine or whether I am mistaken. It is young, male native speakers emphasizing a deep, “rough” voice.
I’ve heard e.g. Americans and Australians do this, it can sound quite a bit forced and not genuinely “hulkish” (like when the natural voice may be higher), and sometimes even perplexing (such as in this recording, where an ex-soldier with PTSD reports how a drug used in his therapy makes him feel “like being hugged by everyone who loves you while lying in a bathtub full of puppies licking your face”; I call this perplexing because to me there is an odd mismatch between that voice and the message.)
My question is this: has this been observed before, i.e. are many young, male native speakers indeed laying on distinctive deep voices, or have I perhaps just encountered some random, unrelated cases?
What I hear in your video is vocal fry, the somewhat raspy sound in a very low tonal register.
It is a semi-voluntary affectation (this sound can also be the result of a a speech defect, but that is usually not the case). It is generally found to be more common among women than among men. It has become ‘popular’ among younger speakers in America fairly recently, that is, over the past fifteen or twenty years or so. The Wikipaedia page has some theories about it, but there is lots more to be found in linguistic research papers.