where the writers are

During my pregnancies, one of my great curiosities was about my children´s voices. What would they sound like? What kind of voices would they have, that I´d recognize and distinguish among many other children´s ? When they were babies I could recognize their cry. Hunger, pain, need of attention, discomfort... Besides the traditional   and pa for mom and dad, I remember them saying their first words: my son, nenê (baby) and my daughter, her own name, Ana. More than the words, I remember their little voices saying them.

I´m fascinated by voices. Many times, I miss what people are saying because I travel in their voice. I loved being read at when I was a child. That´d make me dream. Conversely, a squeaky, or ear splitting voice can force me into a huge effort to not frown at my conversational partner. Of course people are not to blame for having the voices they do. 

There are some very interesting facts about voices.

Some voices run in the families. I have two brothers-in-law, my husband´s brothers, and I cannot tell who´s who when they call on the phone.  Also, we tend to slightly change our voices when speaking in a foreign language. Like I´m doing here.The sounds and entonations are different in the languages and we have to alter our voice to pronounce some of them.

Well, you can listen to my reading of this blog post here

And if you, like me, is a voice admirer, here´s the Voca People


19 Comment count
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I love voices Luciana. My

I love voices Luciana. My sons sound mostly like my husband who is from California. Californian accents are soft like the Pacific. My accent is a blend of everywhere. I have been told that it is quite pleasant, especially from those that have heard me on the radio. I cannot stand a loud voice, one that dominates a place. I was in a restaurant in Spain recently and a voice practically ruined my meal. I will listen now to your voice but I feel I know how it will sound. Mp

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Mary, are those radio pieces

Mary, are those radio pieces also available on the Internet, at the radio´s website, or do you have them to upload?  I´m curious about your voice. :-)

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Luciana, you could try

Luciana, you could try www.rte.ie  RTE 1 Archives: A Living Word, or Lyric Fm: Quiet Quarter. www.lyricfm.ie . Thanks.Mp 

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I sound like a different

I sound like a different person in Samoan, which is a musical language spoken in a slightly higher pitch, especially by women. I was shocked the first time I heard myself on a tape speaking Samoan. Had no idea I was making so many changes to my usual voice.

I don't like loud voices, either, Mares. Some voices just pierce a room and rise above any din.

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I don´t like loud voices

I don´t like loud voices either. It´s as if the voice occupied more space than what it´s supposed to. But it also has a lot to do with personality. Some people just don´t know how to share public spaces with others.

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Exactly, Luciana.

Exactly, Luciana.

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Isn't it interesting hearing someone's voice over the phone and then meeting them in person? Sometimes their voices don't match them at all. My daughters all have soft southern voices, which they wear well. I've noticed I sound a little like them and also like my sisters. You're right, Luciana, the whole voice thing is rather intriguing!

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Dorraine, when I first heard

Dorraine, when I first heard my mother´s voice on a tape my brother found during a move (she died when I was a kid - long story)I was startled. I was already an adult and my heart beat so fast I could hardly breathe. It was as almost as hearing my own voice. When I calmed down, I felt happy to have inherited such a thing from her.

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Luciana, I judge people by voices, sometimes...often...ok, always! It is a temporary judgment which I hope I grow out of, but the first impact is the voice. Is that why I am such a phone person?

You sound soothing :)


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I have that tendency as

I have that tendency as well, Farzana, and, like you, I try not to do it, because it´s just a first moment impression. But when conversation goes on,  there is something about entonation, rhythm, even pauses that reveals a little bit of the speaker.


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Another thought, do you

Another thought, do you think our writing voice is a separate voice or just an extension of our speaking voice, tones, pace, etc.,? Just curious.

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I think it might depend upon

I think it might depend upon the writer and the writing genre.

My late friend Pamela Bone was a well-known memoirist, columnist, and editor for The Age in Melbourne, Australia.  I knew her first from her writings, which are strong, opinionated, gutsy, and courageous.  So I was surprised the first time we talked on the telephone and the first time we met in person to discover a rather shy, unassuming, grandmotherly woman who spoke quietly with a slight quiver in her voice.  This is the woman who interviewed death row inmates and traveled to war zones to bear witness to the suffering of innocents?, I thought.  Would've never in a million years matched her writing voice to her speaking voice and, yet, paradoxically, she was everything she put on display in her writing.  And more, of course.  When she passed, a lot of people memorializing her commented on this seeming discrepancy.

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That's very interesting

That's very interesting Ellen. I always think of my spoken voice as my written voice...But I am not listening to it. Mp

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Mary and Ellen, many times I

Mary and Ellen, many times I write as if I were speaking - in the blog, especially. Maybe that´s why I use this :-) so much. I smile a lot. I think it´s easier for some people to show who they are either in their writing or their speaking, and it´s very hard for others, like Ellen´s friend, for example.  Brazilian author Luis Fernando Verissimo is just like the way you described your friend, Ellen. You can´t believe that this shy guy, who avoids eye contact, with a very low voice, can be the same guy who writes those great books, full of very clever comedy.

When we write we subvocalize a lot, and many times it´s just like as if we were dictating to ourselves. So, in a way, we listen to ourselves. Not the same way as others do, though.

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Yes, and when Pammy and I

Yes, and when Pammy and I met the first time and I said something like, "Wow!  I would've never matched person with written voice!" she responded, "And you aren't a ballsy and brassy broad, either!"  I said, oh, no. . .I'm actually quite shy. 

I guess we saw a bit of ourselves in each other, and maybe that was part of the attraction.

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Luciana, I do the same on

Luciana, I do the same on the blog, and sometimes I wish there were emoticons on the site so we can be clear when we are teasing or poking fun at ourselves or trying to convey some other nonverbal message.

I think I change voices depending upon the audience and the situation.  Scientific writing is very stiff.  Same with business writing.  Not much room for personality in either.  If you attempt to insert it, it will be seen as a bit bizarre unless it is very cleverly done.  My blog posts and my e-mail messages and letters to friends are much more closely aligned with my speaking voice in conversational situations.

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Now, I remember what my

Now, I remember what my boyfriend always says. That one of the first things that got his attention when he met me was my voice. :-D He said I had a "thick voice" (I don't know if it is right). That I could work in a radio or somethin (LOL! It just makes me laugh, because I don't hear myself like this. Anyways, I think it is very important to enjoy the voice of someone you share your life...

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It certainly is, Marina.

It certainly is, Marina. Sharing your life...are you guys getting married? I want to throw the rice! :-)

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Better late, than never...

Better late, than never... I've been way from RedRoom for a while.
We're not getting married, but we've been sharing a house and our lives for some years.
If we get married, I'll call you to throw the rice :o) hahaha
Thanks :-)