I do not sound like this
February 11, 2015 11:13 AM   Subscribe

What's it called when people write like they talk, or don't? What's it called when people hear the voice of the writer when they read the words?
posted by michaelh to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
An interesting question. I don't know that there is a specific phrase to describe the phenomenon you're talking about, although there are related terms you might find helpful. The first is simply "writer's voice," which you may already know, and is just the overarching term to describe the specific distinct characteristics of a writer.

If they write the way things are pronounced, this is called pronunciation spelling, or, sometimes, pronunciation respelling or eye dialect. Some writers write conversationally, while others adopt more formal writing styles, and that seems to really distinguish writers who write like they talk or don't.
posted by maxsparber at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2015


Writing "in the vernacular"?
posted by thebrokedown at 11:42 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think "conversational style" might be what you're looking for.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:44 AM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think conversational is it. Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, JD Salinger, etc.
posted by beagle at 11:51 AM on February 11, 2015


I usually see this called an "authentic voice."
posted by Mchelly at 11:54 AM on February 11, 2015


A duality that exists in some languages and cultures is diglossia.
posted by XMLicious at 12:03 PM on February 11, 2015


"Colloquial" also fits the bill.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:15 PM on February 11, 2015


I don't think there is a phrase -- I'm taking your question to refer to the tone and syntax. I would just refer to it as someone's "writing voice." I find the way I communicate through writing and the way I communicate in person often isn't the same, which I think is weird. I have a specific writer's voice.

If you are referring to accents, like writing "gonna" instead of "going to" or "y'all" vs. "you all," then I think that is writing "in the vernacular" or just writing their dialect.

I didn't take your question to refer to conversational writing or colloquial writing vs. pedantic or formal writing, but that's another option.

Maybe you can clarify what you mean?
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:15 PM on February 11, 2015


There is a possibly related term called "eye dialect".
posted by mhum at 12:58 PM on February 11, 2015


What's it called when people write like they talk?

I would suggest stream-of-consciousness although to be accurate, that's writing like the author thinks.
posted by Rash at 1:37 PM on February 11, 2015


michaelh will probably clarify, but I believe the question is is there a phrase for when a writer's voice doesn't match their in real life style of speaking or vice versa. Such as a boss who's really passive in person, but strident over e-mail.
posted by edbles at 1:50 PM on February 11, 2015


Yes, or, on the other hand, when you read what someone writes, it "sounds" just like them in your head or maybe when you think about what they wrote. Though, I definitely do not mind a lot of different approaches to answering since it's all related and interesting.
posted by michaelh at 1:54 PM on February 11, 2015


This is related to the illusion of transparency. You're not literally hearing the voice of the writer in the written word. You're imagining it and adding your own interpretation, overestimating that you know the mental state of the author.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:59 PM on February 11, 2015


What's it called when people hear the voice of the writer when they read the words?

Auditory hallucination?
posted by kindall at 3:16 PM on February 11, 2015


Another related phenomena is subvocalization, where you "hear" what you are reading in the auditory processing centers of your brain. When I'm reading normal text, it just sounds like listening to my own thoughts but when the text has a distinctive voice, especially dialect, I will experience more as the author's voice or the character's voice rather than just me.
posted by metahawk at 3:27 PM on February 11, 2015


Metahawk has it. Its also called inner speech and lots of research shows that inner speech has properties that are similar to spoken language.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:09 PM on February 11, 2015


In writing circles we just call that "voice." Some authors have a very distinctive voice, some don't. Authorial voice may bear no relational to speaking voice.
posted by deathpanels at 7:32 PM on February 11, 2015


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