Donald Duck talk

Donald Duck talk

Donald Duck talk is a form of vocalization linked to the voice of the Disney cartoon character Donald Duck. His voice was created by Clarence Charles "Ducky" Nash using buccal speech, a form of speech that uses the buccal or cheek sides, rather than the glottis and lungs, to produce sound.

Because of the distinctive unnatural and raised pitch associated with the Disney character, other forms of altered speech have also been called Donald Duck speech, including hyperbaric speech, induced by breathing helium gas; the distorted sound of speech that has been time compressed with audio engineering; and speech associated with some medical conditions.

Donald Duck talk is a form of alaryngeal speech known as buccal speech.[1][2][3][4] Alaryngeal vocalizations use neither the glottis nor the lungs to make sound phonation.

This form of vocalization was utilised by Clarence Charles "Ducky" Nash for the Disney cartoon character Donald Duck. It thus became popularly known as Donald Duck talk.[5][6] After Clarence Nash's death in 1985 the voice was taken over by Tony Anselmo, who has undertaken demonstrations of the technique.[7] The distinctive sound of this speech, together with the widespread familiarity of the Disney character, has led to unrelated but similarly distorted forms of modified speech also being described as Donald Duck talk.


Buccal speech

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 be also be used to sing,[1] and is usually acquired as a taught or self learnt skill and used for entertainment.

Hyperbaric speech

Speech made when breathing helium gas is often called Donald Duck talk. This gas mixture alters sound waves due to its low weight and density. This raises the resonating frequency of the vocal chords by an octave shift up. Such speech is unintelligible largely due to the upward pitch shift in speech formants.[8] Intelligibility is an important communication problem in deep sea diving. The technological solution involves unscrambling by electronic transcoders.[9]

Other cases

  • Donald Duck-like speech is described to occur after pseudobulbar dysarthria in which speech gains a high-pitched "strangulated" quality.[10][11][12]
  • Donald Duck speech effect is described (usually as an undesired phenomena) in audio engineering when speech is time compressed, rate controlled, or accelerated.[13]
  • A high pitched nasal voice resembling Donald Duck is sometimes noted in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Weinberg, B; Westerhouse, J (1971). "A study of buccal speech". Journal of speech and hearing research 14 (3): 652–8. PMID 5163900. 
  2. ^ a b Van Gilse PHG. (1948). Another Method of Speech Without Larynx. Acta Oto-Laryngologica, 36, Supplement 78, 109 – 110. doi:10.3109/00016484809122642
  3. ^ Diedrich WM. Youngstrom KA. (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 KM. (2003). Manual of articulation and phonological disorders: infancy through adulthood. Cengage Learning ISBN 9780769302560 page 67
  6. ^ Smith BL. (1994). "Speech production, Atypical aspects," pp. 4221-4231 in The encyclopedia of language and linguistics. Ed. R. E. Asher. Oxford: Pergamon Press. ISBN 978-0080359434
  7. ^ The buccal nature of Donald Duck talk can be seen in Tony Anselmo's face when he speaks as Donald Donald in this interview about his taking over the production of the voice from Clarence Nash. (1/2) (2/2)
  8. ^ Fant G, Lindquist J. (1968). Pressure and gas mixture effects on diver’s speech. Quart. Prog. and Status Rep. STL-QPSR, pp. 7–17Speech Transmission Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
  9. ^ Golden RM. (1966). Improving naturalness and intelligibility of helium–oxygen speech using vocoder techniques. J Acoust Soc Am;40: 621–4. doi:10.1121/1.1910127
  10. ^ Mihailoff GA, Briar C. (2005). Nervous System. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9780323034432 page 200
  11. ^ Bornales DP. Mental Status Exam and Cranial Nerves
  12. ^ Wills A. (2008). How to perform a neurological examination. Medicine, 36: 515-519 doi:10.1016/j.mpmed.2008.07.008
  13. ^ Kemp JE. (1975). Planning and producing audiovisual materials Crowell. ISBN 9780690008050 page 160
  14. ^ Couper, RT; Couper, JJ (2000). "Prader-Willi syndrome". Lancet 356 (9230): 673–5. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02617-9. PMID 10968453. 

External sources

How to do
  • Donald Duck--What's My Line Clarence C. Nash can be seen in this 12 December 1954 episode making his Donald Duck talk briefly at 7.01-03, 7.18, and 7.20
  • (Part 1/2)(Part 2/2) Tony Anselmo discusses the problems making the Donald talk in this interview about how he took over the voice of Donald Duck from Clarence Nash.
Youtube has many examples of amateurs doing buccal speech
Example of pseudobulbar dysarthria talk

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