General Question

mrjadkins's avatar

What is the voice you hear when you read?

Asked by mrjadkins (1248 points ) July 31st, 2008

When you read a letter, a blog post, a Fluther, etc. – do you read it and hear it in the voice of the person, your own voice, or do you generate a new voice for what you read?

What is the voice of what you read?

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50 Answers

jlm11f's avatar

I hear it in my own voice. Isn’t it the same for everybody? interesting…

marinelife's avatar

Usually my own voice when reading to myself, but if I read aloud, I do voices for the characters.

btko's avatar

For me I think it depends… if it’s a British author my internal voice has an accent.. otherwise it’s just my voice. Neat question.

sndfreQ's avatar

James Earl Jones…

just checking to see if anyone’s reading this

btko's avatar

James Earl Jones is a really good one.!

marinelife's avatar

@sndfreQ Will you do the voice on my home answering machine?

augustlan's avatar

Just me myself and I.

augustlan's avatar

How about you, MrJ?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Morgan Freeman….worlds greatest narrator.

nah its always my own voice. Same thing for when im typing, i hear my voice in my head saying the words right before i type them.

mrjadkins's avatar

I read your usernames and I craft a voice for your name when I read the posts. It makes it more fun but now that I think about it – the voices are all mine but the pitch might change. When it comes to letters from family, I use their voices.

I wish I could have a British James Earl Jones voice in my repertoire!

tinyfaery's avatar

If its non-fiction I hear my own voice. If its fiction my mind seems to distinguish between male and female characters and the old and young, but not every character has a unique voice.

@mj I can’t even imagine what tinyfaery would sound like.

mrjadkins's avatar

@tinyfaery I read Harry Potter with all those British children and old wizards and witches. The voices played out very similarly to the movie. Hagrid was a grumbled voice much like Lurch from the Addams Family.

aaronou's avatar

Interesting question. I doubt I’ve ever stopped to consider this until now.

Must we always hear a voice though? Perhaps so, but would it be possible to simply read a text in silence? For instance there are a number of signs and such that we thoughtfully interpret on a day to day basis, which clearly need no voice in order for us to cognitively perceive it. I don’t know, just a thought.

mrjadkins's avatar

Wow – never thought of that. Good point.

marinelife's avatar

@aaronou Makes me want to belt out “Stop in the name of love” a la Diana Ross when I come to a Stop sign now.

arnbev959's avatar

I’ve tried to read without the voice, and I can’t do it. Someone once told me that speed reading involves learning to read without saying every word to yourself.

On a side note: If I really try to clear my mind and look at things as forms without naming them I can’t do it. It’s like everything has a little tag that pops up when I look at it. “Chair”, “Window”, “Computer”. It’s weird.

augustlan's avatar

I can’t ever turn off the voice in my head…my constant inner dialogue/narrator is always going…like the Energizer Bunny. It even keeps me up nights!

augustlan's avatar

Well, that and Fluther

MacBean's avatar

If I’m reading a novel, the characters all have their own voices. If it’s in first person, the narration is in the main character’s voice (probably obviously). If it’s third person, the narration is in a voice that reflects the author’s gender and nationality. That’s part of the reason why I love reading Neil Gaiman’s books; I know his voice and I love it, so that’s what I hear in my head.

When I read things like text books and newspaper articles and things of that nature, I hear it in a male voice, usually with a northern British accent.

susanc's avatar

I never hear voices I just look at words and pictures come

La_chica_gomela's avatar

This is a really interesting question. I was about to write the exact same thing as susanc, and then when I started reading after thinking about the question, I did hear a voice, and it was my voice, but when I’m not being self-conscious I really don’t, I just understand. However, if there is verbal speech near me while I’m reading (such as a TV on or a loud conversation) I cannot understand what I’m reading unless I whisper it to myself, which I actually find harder to focus on.

TheHaight's avatar

I agree with Macbean, when I am reading something I tend to subconsciously have a different voice for each character. Most of the time I never really think about it..I just read. This is an amazing question though! I’ve never really thought about this!

iJimmy's avatar

No voices for me. Just words.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

When I read a book with characters, I hear what I think the characters’ voices would sound like. When I read something like a blog or newspaper, or a book not concerning characters, I simply hear my own or, sometimes, no voice at all.

hollywoodduck's avatar

Mostly in my most fabulous voice. In Harry Potter I definitely heard them as different characters, especially after I saw the movies and was rereading the books.

btko's avatar

I never considered that there could be no voice – that’s really interesting

ezraglenn's avatar

This question really opens up a whole new world of conscious reading for me; I rarely think about the way I read or what it sounds like, but I guess the voice is similar mine in some ways, but more idealized, closer to what I think is maybe the perfect reading voice. It is extraordinarily annunciative, has hints of a british accent, and is deeper than mine, but pleasant and flowy, like if everything I read was poetry.

flameboi's avatar

My inner child speaks to me :)

breedmitch's avatar

Liev Schreiber who narrates many documentaries on PBS, including some NOVA, Frontline, and American Marters. I’m not kidding. You all sound like Liev Schreiber to me.

marinelife's avatar

Yeah? Well you sound like David Attenborough to me.

breedmitch's avatar

oops.. that should be Masters

ezraglenn's avatar

I wish mine was Ira Glass.

Sloane2024's avatar

most of the time, I read in silence. I dont hear voices unless I make a special effort.

marinelife's avatar

@blakemasnor Which one?

MacBean's avatar

@Marina—I assumed ALL OF THEM. AT THE SAME TIME. Because it amused me. :D

blakemasnor's avatar

@marina Val Kilmer

El_Cadejo's avatar

@blakemasnor booooooooooo val kilmer wasnt a good batman. Now if you were to say you heard Kevin Conroy you’d be my hero. ^_^

blakemasnor's avatar

@uberbatman I responded ‘batman’ because in that movie the joker, jim carey, asks what the batman calls himself in his head.

El_Cadejo's avatar

psttttt jim carey played the riddler. ;)

nina's avatar

I do not hear a voice. I read with my eyes.

bridold's avatar

If it’s a book, I have a tendency to hear what I think the character’s voices would sound like.

Even when I’m reading blogs or emails, I hear it in the way the person sounds like they would say it or, if I’ve heard them speak, the way they would say it.

Does that make sense?

I have a very vivid imagination…

blakemasnor's avatar

you’re right :) thanks

Knotmyday's avatar

Like susanc, a tableau unfolds, no voice until someone speaks. If I really enjoy what they say, I repeat it out loud- but it doesn’t sound like ‘em. Close, though.

stevenb's avatar

I just visualize what I read. I see it as images mostly. If I think about it and listen for a voice I hear James Mason or Christopher Walken. I love both of their voices and when I hear them I see them speaking as well as hear them. Its like they are talking to me with all inflections and movements included. That is just for fun though. Mostly I just see the visual representation of your words in my noggin. I once took a speed reading test in college prepatory reading and I was up to 2500 words a minute with over 90% comprehension, but the joy was lost from the words. I like to savor the images I get from all of your words. Its like I see you sitting at your keyboards and phones smiling or thinking of your answers and that is how I hear them. Scenes of you thinking of your answers. Its like I hear your thoughts. I like that connection, and the abstract images they create in my mind.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Mannn i love xkcd

core's avatar

Interesting question. I don’t hear any voice at all. It’s like a meta voice without a body.

fathippo's avatar

on the internet, it’s like reading in my voice, but different variations of my voice that fit what first just comes into your head about a person… so its my mind’s voice but kinda pretending to be other people…

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