In linguistics, creaky voice (sometimes called laryngealisation, pulse phonation, vocal fry, or glottal fry) is a special kind of phonation in which the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx are drawn together; as a result, the vocal folds are compressed rather tightly, becoming relatively slack and compact. They vibrate irregularly at 20–50 pulses per second, about two octaves below the frequency of normal voicing, and the airflow through the glottis is very slow. However, although creaky voice may occur with very low pitch, as at the end of a long intonation unit, it can occur with any pitch.
A slight degree of laryngealisation, occurring in some Korean consonants for example, is called "stiff voice". The Danishprosodic feature stød is an example of a form of laryngealisation that has a phonemic function. Creaky voice has been reported to be prevalent in American English as spoken in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. However, it has also been reported that use of creaky voice has been spreading among women across the United States.
Some languages, such as Jalapa Mazatec, use creaky voice as a linguistically significant marker; that is, the presence or absence of creaky voice can change the meaning of a word.