Donald Duck talk

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Donald Duck talk, formally called buccal speech, is an alaryngeal form of vocalization which uses the inner cheek to produce sound rather than the larynx.[1][2][3][4] The speech is most closely associated with the Disney cartoon character Donald Duck whose voice was created by Clarence Nash, who performed it from 1934 to 1984.[5][6]

Nash discovered buccal speech while trying to mimic his pet goat Mary. In his days before Disney, Nash performed in vaudeville shows where he often spoke in his "nervous baby goat" voice. Later when he auditioned at Walt Disney Productions, Walt Disney interpreted Nash's voice as that of a duck, at which point the idea for Donald Duck came about.[7] Buccal speech was also used by voice actor Red Coffey for the character Quacker in MGM cartoons, and by Jimmy Weldon for the character Yakky Doodle in Hanna-Barbera cartoons.


Buccal speech is created with one of the buccal or cheek sides of the vocal tract. Both the air chamber and the replacement glottis are formed between the cheek and upper jaw. Buccal speech is produced when a person creates an airbubble between the cheek and the jaw on one side and then uses muscular action to drive the air through a small gap between or behind the teeth into the mouth. The sound so produced makes a high rough sound. This then is articulated to make speech.[1][2] The speech sounds made in this way are difficult to hear and have a raised pitch. The technique can also be used to sing,[1] and is usually acquired as a taught or self-learned skill and used for entertainment.

Other cases[edit]

  • Donald Duck-like speech is described to occur after pseudobulbar dysarthria in which speech gains a high-pitched "strangulated" quality.[8][9][10]
  • Donald Duck speech effect is described (usually as an undesired phenomenon) in audio engineering when speech is time compressed, rate controlled, or accelerated.[11]
  • The term is sometimes also used to refer to the frequency-shifted speech from an improperly tuned single sideband modulation (SSB) radiotelephone receiver, or the (nearly unintelligible) sound of a SSB signal on a conventional amplitude modulation (AM) receiver.[12]
  • A high pitched nasal voice resembling Donald Duck is sometimes noted in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Weinberg, B.; Westerhouse, J. (1971). "A study of buccal speech". Journal of Speech and Hearing Research. 14 (3): 652–8. doi:10.1121/1.1981697. PMID 5163900.
  2. ^ a b Van Gilse, P. H. G. (1948). Another Method of Speech Without Larynx. Acta Oto-Laryngologica, 36, Supplement 78, 109–110. doi:10.3109/00016484809122642
  3. ^ Diedrich W. M., Youngstrom K. A. (1966). Alaryngeal Speech. Springfield, Ill.: Thomas OCLC 347249
  4. ^ Weinberg B., (1972). Acoustical Properties of Alaryngeal Speech. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 52, (1A) 158 doi:10.1121/1.1981983
  5. ^ Bleile, K. M. (2003). Manual of articulation and phonological disorders: infancy through adulthood. Cengage Learning ISBN 978-0-7693-0256-0, page 67.
  6. ^ Smith, B. L. (1994). "Speech production, Atypical aspects," pp. 4221–4231 in The encyclopedia of language and linguistics. Ed. R. E. Asher. Oxford: Pergamon Press. ISBN 978-0-08-035943-4.
  7. ^ Blitz, Marcia (1979). Donald Duck. New York: Harmony Books. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-517-52961-4.
  8. ^ Mihailoff, G. A., Briar, C. (2005). Nervous System. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 978-0-323-03443-2, page 200.
  9. ^ Bornales, D. P. Mental Status Exam and Cranial Nerves
  10. ^ Wills, A. (2008). How to perform a neurological examination. Medicine, 36: 515-519 doi:10.1016/j.mpmed.2008.07.008
  11. ^ Kemp, J. E. (1975). Planning and producing audiovisual materials Crowell. ISBN 978-0-690-00805-0, page 160.
  12. ^ "What Is Single Sideband".
  13. ^ Couper, R. T.; Couper, J. J. (2000). "Prader-Willi syndrome". Lancet. 356 (9230): 673–5. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02617-9. PMID 10968453.

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