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megustaleer

Reading "in character"

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I have just finished listening to an audiobook on which the reader gives each character a distinctive voice. The reader is a young female, as is the narrator/main protagonist, but most of the other characters are men and I found the change of pich & accent unconvincing and distracting.

 

This made me aware that I do not read 'in character', I do not hear distinctive voices in my head for all the different people in a book.

Nor do I when reading aloud (except maybe to young children).

 

How about the rest of you? Do the characters in a book 'speak' to you? Or do you hear their stories in your own voice?

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Instinctively, I'd say no, I don't hear voices in my head. However, if I hear of a screen version of a much loved book being cast, I often know if an actor is right or wrong for a part. I don't know how, I just know.

 

Conversely, if I read a book after having seen a film or TV version of it, the characters inevitably wind up looking and sounding like their screen incarnations.

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I hear their stories in my own voice.

 

Even after I've seen the film I tend to have my own ideas, as I read, about the characters which may not correspond to the film portrayal.

 

Then again, I knew that Ken Stott was exactly right for the part of Rebus even before I read any Rebus stories and I did picture (sound and vision) Rebus as very similar to that portrayal when I read them.

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I've thought about this before but still can't decide whether I really hear character's voices or just have a more vague but more rounded image of them in my head. I do know that I have real problems when an author spells an accent by dropping letters or using regional abbreviations. Even when a character doesn't speak gramtically correct English I need the have their words written correctly.

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I think it depends on the book. Sometimes I do hear them quite clearly, and sometimes I hear them as me. I've also listened to audio books where the reader has done this, and again it's depended on the book and the reader - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!

 

*Climbs off fence*

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When I first read this question I was reminded of a comment of Derren Brown's which was "perception without awareness" which is perhaps a reason a number of posters on this blog are slightly non-committal about their answers.

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Not at all. I have a reading 'voice' in my head that is not the same as my own voice. If I want to think what a character sounds like I have to vocalise it. (Not on the bus or anything.)

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When I read it is as if I am recounting to myself events that have happened/are happening to me (or another) .

 

In RL, when talking with Mr meg, or a friend I use my normal voice, with the occasional variation for emphasis - usually comic. It doesn't occur to me to try to reproduce someone's accent, or recount a conversation in two different voices, and it doesn't occur to me to do that with people in books.

 

Actually, not quite.

Like David I have a 'reading voice', which for me is a more or less accent-less RP. If the voice in my head was the voice I actually use I would only be able to read books about people brought up in Birmingham. :P

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Does anybody read aloud when alone? I don't mind being the first to admit that I do... if the quality of the language merits it...

 

I can justify myself by saying that it's practice for reading texts aloud in class, which I like to make a reasonable job of... - but I would do it anyway... I like to assume it's marginally more acceptable than talking to oneself...

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Does anybody read aloud when alone? I don't mind being the first to admit that I do... if the quality of the language merits it...

 

I can justify myself by saying that it's practice for reading texts aloud in class, which I like to make a reasonable job of... - but I would do it anyway... I like to assume it's marginally more acceptable than talking to oneself...

Sure, whenever I feel moved so to do. I also talk to myself and not ashamed to say so! :D

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I've had to pay particular attention whilst reading today to note exactly what I do! If I do hear a voice, it seems to be my own speaking voice. Having said that, I've noticed I have a tendency to clearly visualise a person for each character and if they are not adequately described, I seem to choose a famous actor who I think would be good in the role if it were ever filmed. :o

 

If a passage or sentence is particularly beautiful, moving or inspiring, I do say it aloud to myself to try to commit it to memory, I suppose. And I often read poetry in a whisper to fully experience the meter in which it was written.

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I tried to do Joseph out of wuthering heights, in a Yorkshire accent in my head while I was reading it, to see if I could understand what he was saying, and it worked ...it was amazing.

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Does anybody read aloud when alone? I don't mind being the first to admit that I do... if the quality of the language merits it...

 

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If the book I'm reading has sufficiently complex and/or beautiful language, I often find myself reading a passage aloud - it can be the only way I really access the full meaning of a passage, because it makes me think of emphasis and inflection which I can gloss over if just reading in my head.

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I tried to do Joseph out of wuthering heights, in a Yorkshire accent in my head while I was reading it, to see if I could understand what he was saying, and it worked ...it was amazing.
That's when I find myself reading out loud. I'm not bad at sounding out a few distinct regional accents, so it can help me "hear" the character if I read a couple of pages aloud (only when alone, I agree!).

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I'm not even sure I always hear a voice at all...

 

I want to say that on occasion I hear a voice quite clearly- but now I think about it, I rather think that instead I imagine a person in my head and they are just doing what is said...

 

Although during the Woman in white I very clearly didn't like the uncle and his style of speaking - although i still don't think I heard him...

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