How can whispering still sound like that person’s voice even though they’re not using their vocal cords?

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How can whispering still sound like that person’s voice even though they’re not using their vocal cords?

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You still use your larynx while whispering. In fact, it’s harder on your larynx to whisper than to talk normal.

People have unique speech patterns. That speech pattern still exists when whispering which is why you recognize their “voice” when they whisper.

The specific sound of a voice is not created only by the vocal coards. The way sounds resonate in the cavities of the head affecte the sound quites a bit. Also the prononciations and speech patterns are mostly the same.

The dimensions of your whole vocal tract are unique to you, not just your vocal cords. Your voice’s sound is a result of your vocal cords, larynx, throat dimensions, mouth dimensions, sinus (and other head resonator-space) dimensions.

So when you’re not using your unique vocal cords to whisper, you’re still using your unique larynx, throat, mouth, sinuses etc. so a lot of the characteristics of your voice are preserved.

Also as others said, your speech patterns themselves (aka the way you talk – inflection patterns, speed/rhythm, vocabulary, etc) is also still there when you’re whispering, helping it sound “like you”.

You can turn this on its side: try reading something out loud using only your vocal cords, jaw open, without moving your lips, teeth, or tongue (both the tip and the base). Yep, you kind of sound like some incoherent drunk with strong opinions. At best, you can raise or lower your pitch, but it all just comes out as throaty sounds.

Pretty much everything in your mouth above your throat is responsible for shaping sound. Many consonants come from other sounds make by your mouth, whether it bursts out like P or B, is made by friction like H or Z, or vibrates your palate like M and N.

Even the ability to modify tone is not unique to your vocal cords—your tongue can constrain the airway to make higher pitches, kind of an axis going from O to E, and another going from U to S. These all work the same whether you’re whispering or yelling.