Why is it so difficult to understand the announcements in Flemish train stations?

The thoughts of a voice geek while taking the train on a sunny sunday…

The woman that does the announcements speaks in Neutral with air, with a low larynx. This kind of use of the voice is preferred in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. For example, the majority of our TV and radio presenters use this soft, friendly, warm and non-agressive sound. Something that can’t be said about our Northern friends 😉 This sound, however, lacks twang, an important element for a voice that needs to be present, ringing, clear and understood when there are disturbing noises around the person that wants to hear the message. For example fellow travellers (that know how to use twang 😏) or shreeking train breaks. Twang amplifies frequencies around 3000Hz, that travel very easily through the ear. This means that a voice with a very little amount of twang disappears completely into the other sounds.

So, next time you try to understand the announcement in a Flemish train station and you don’t succeed… Don’t blame your ears. Blame the person that chose to use this voice.

BTW: Does anyone know this person? I think he / she would be a very suitable candidate to become a client of mine

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