How do you read?

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How do you read?

There's a voice in my head (mine)
203
40%
There's a voice in my head (characters')
156
31%
What the hell are you talking about, psycho?
65
13%
Out loud
10
2%
Otter/Duck
74
15%
 
Total votes: 508

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Ptera
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How do you read?

Postby Ptera » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:32 pm UTC

This question came up in a discussion between a fellow grad student and I. I know that when I read, generally I "hear" the words in my mind in my own voice, as if I am the narrator. I often get snatches of visuals to go along with a scene if I'm really getting into it. She agreed, but went on to say that her English major sister didn't "hear" the words at all, she just gleaned meaning from the words. My husband insists that he doesn't have an internal narration either. I think this must be some fundamental difference in how our brains work.

So I was wondering... How do you read?


Do you think this influences how fast you can read? I read pretty fast, but not nearly as quickly as some people I know. I think I mostly skip over some words and phrases and go straight from one line of dialogue to the next, so the scene plays better in my head.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby jamesusillxd » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:10 pm UTC

Well...
I read with my eyes... :lol
No, I would say i read roughly the same as you... I have internal narration in my own voice sometimes with little bits of vision.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:56 pm UTC

I only "hear" the words if I am having trouble really getting into the story. For instance, if something keeps distracting me, or if I'm really tired. When I hear them, it's in my voice.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Cheese » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:17 pm UTC

I dunno... I chose options 1 and 5, because if I concentrate on it, I can hear myself thinking (although it's not exactly a voice - I can't think of any audible equivalent to it), but sometimes I feel that I've just absorbed the words, such as when I don't remember reading the last page, but know exactly what happened on it.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby scowdich » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:34 pm UTC

If I'm reading more slowly, I tend to give characters their own voices (this also happens with certain books; Catch-22 comes to mind). Usually I read to fast to "vocalize" anything; I tend to process text faster than speech, anyway. I'm also one of those people that turns the captions on the television all the time, because I prefer reading to hearing.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Cheese » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:41 pm UTC

scowdich wrote:I'm also one of those people that turns the captions on the television all the time, because I prefer reading to hearing.
I do this sometimes, but if I mute the TV then the 'whine' that it gives off gives me a headache (with no other noise to cover over it), and if I keep the volume on then the speech is usually out of sync with the subtitles. I could try earplugs or something, but that annoying 'wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' would still probably get through to my brain.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Rodan » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:42 pm UTC

It's always my voice I hear. Except when I read out loud, but that's only after I watch a zero punctuation review, and feel like reading something in a British accent.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby George Orr » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:54 pm UTC

When I'm distracted enough to pay attention to it, there's always a voice in my head. If by "my" voice, you mean a single narrator that I believe to be unique to my own personal reading experience, then yeah, that's it. Because the voice I hear sure as hell ain't the voice that I speak in, or even a voice I would imagine myself speaking with. I guess it's my "thinking" voice.

This reminds me, though, about ancient times when people were only able to read out loud (supposedly, according to some people). There are texts describing events when someone found a person reading silently, and were amazed/flabbergasted/whatever, because it was a new phenomenon and incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with it.

Part of me wishes times were like that still. I think words would have more power.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Vaniver » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:56 pm UTC

I tend not to hear sounds, just sort of absorb the sentences. When I do focus on a word, it's generally its aural qualities over its visual qualities- but generally neither are present.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby dhpe » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:59 pm UTC

There is no single answer. When I'm reading in other than my native language I'm often pronouncing the words in my mind for practise. It's not often when I get to speak English irl, so it's pretty compulsory to practise and maintain pronouncing skills somehow. When reading in my native Finnish I just absorb the data, no voices in my head involved. However, when reading something familiar and easy in English, like news (they use a very restricted set of words in CNN, BBC, etc.) or computer-related stuff, the same absorbing phenomenon is typically there again.

Then again, I proofread the sentences that I write myself with the trusted voice in my head - no matter what language. Sometimes the damned proofreader makes mistakes, though.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby zombie_monkey » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:22 pm UTC

Most of the time I just absorb, but when the writing is not in Bulgarian but in English and the style is unusual, I sometimes imagine how it would be pronounced, in my head (as dhpe said, for practice, as it's relatively rare for me to use English using my vocal apparatus, and rare yet to communicate with natives). But that happens exceedingly rarely.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby yellie » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:43 pm UTC

I sometimes mouth certain character's dialogue, so I chose the outloud option. For the most part though, I just read the words, I don't "hear" them.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby no-genius » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:01 am UTC

I usually read a book as my own voice in my head, but sometimes I read it like the character's voice. Wait, that confused me... I'm reading the Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, and it comes out as something in between my voice and his.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby thornesandrose » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:03 am UTC

I tend to give the characters their own voices but that is only because when I read I loose track of this reality and become engrossed in theirs. I do not read the book instead I see it. It is more like I am watching a movie (if it is 3rd person) or I am directly experiencing it (if it is 1st person). Yet it is somehow more intense and real. It is why I read so much, but I am a slow reader.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby The Sleeping Tyrant » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:06 am UTC

I hear everything I read in a voice I've come to distinguish as mine. Ie, whenever I think, this same voice is what I hear. It's probably pretty equivalent to actual speech, in that it uses pitch and has a definite timbre.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Ptera » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:16 am UTC

Yay, my friend and I aren't alone in this.

I do agree that as I get more engrossed in what I'm reading, the "volume" of my inner narration gets turned down. The best way I can describe it is it's like the Bastien parts of The Neverending Story (movie). You know, it's his voice over the first few seconds of a scene, until he fades into the background and the visual part of the movie takes over.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Flying Betty » Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:36 am UTC

I pretty much absorb the words- book osmosis if you will. I read really quickly and the words go straight into my brain in huge chunks. I guess if I'm reading really slowly for some reason I hear the words in my voice, the internal one that does the thinking.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:16 am UTC

Whenever i read about a character making a gesture like nodding, i do it myself. Just a bit odd...
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Re: How do you read?

Postby waltwhitmanheadedbat » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:15 am UTC

George Orr wrote:When I'm distracted enough to pay attention to it, there's always a voice in my head. If by "my" voice, you mean a single narrator that I believe to be unique to my own personal reading experience, then yeah, that's it. Because the voice I hear sure as hell ain't the voice that I speak in, or even a voice I would imagine myself speaking with. I guess it's my "thinking" voice.

This reminds me, though, about ancient times when people were only able to read out loud (supposedly, according to some people). There are texts describing events when someone found a person reading silently, and were amazed/flabbergasted/whatever, because it was a new phenomenon and incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with it.

Part of me wishes times were like that still. I think words would have more power.


[citation needed]

Really, though, can you provide a link? Either way, this is one of the coolest theories I've heard in a long time.

Edited for clarity.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby slaxor » Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:24 pm UTC

I've been reading a lot. When I was a kid, there was a period of 5 years or so when books were my only source of entertainment. So for me, if I'm reading an "easy" book, I actually visualize everything that's going on. I build up images of the characters, and I "see" whatever's going on. Does this influence how fast I read? I think so. I'm not really aware of the words themselves when I'm reading, but I would guess I average a sentence every couple of seconds.
Probably as a side effect of this, I get annoyed with reading a lot about abstract stuff, unless it's easy to visualize.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Kewangji » Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:08 pm UTC

I hear my voice. In books, I usually imagine the scenes as if I saw them on TV or so.

Online, when someone emotes, I pronounce the "*chuckles*" as chuckles, that's kinda disturbing.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby no-genius » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:13 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Whenever i read about a character making a gesture like nodding, i do it myself. Just a bit odd...

Me too :P
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Re: How do you read?

Postby George Orr » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:44 pm UTC

waltwhitmanheadedbat wrote:
George Orr wrote:When I'm distracted enough to pay attention to it, there's always a voice in my head. If by "my" voice, you mean a single narrator that I believe to be unique to my own personal reading experience, then yeah, that's it. Because the voice I hear sure as hell ain't the voice that I speak in, or even a voice I would imagine myself speaking with. I guess it's my "thinking" voice.

This reminds me, though, about ancient times when people were only able to read out loud (supposedly, according to some people). There are texts describing events when someone found a person reading silently, and were amazed/flabbergasted/whatever, because it was a new phenomenon and incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with it.

Part of me wishes times were like that still. I think words would have more power.


[citation needed]

Really, though, can you provide a link? Either way, this is one of the coolest theories I've heard in a long time.

Edited for clarity.
Well, I did a quick google search, and came up with This Site. It's a Stanford site, so I believe it's a fairly dependable source. I was first told this thing about reading out loud by my Ancient Greek teacher last year, and the new teacher I have this year confirms it.

Apparently, reading silently was not unheard of, just incredibly uncommon. To quote from the site I linked to above: "The implication is that this method of reading, this silent perusing of the page, was in his time something out of the ordinary, and that normal reading was performed out loud. Even though instances of silent reading can be traced to earlier dates, not until the tenth century does this manner of reading become usual in the West"
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Re: How do you read?

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:28 am UTC

That is... Something completely new to me, a bit of a paradigm shift, really.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby podbaydoor » Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:05 am UTC

slaxor wrote:I've been reading a lot. When I was a kid, there was a period of 5 years or so when books were my only source of entertainment. So for me, if I'm reading an "easy" book, I actually visualize everything that's going on. I build up images of the characters, and I "see" whatever's going on. Does this influence how fast I read? I think so. I'm not really aware of the words themselves when I'm reading, but I would guess I average a sentence every couple of seconds.
Probably as a side effect of this, I get annoyed with reading a lot about abstract stuff, unless it's easy to visualize.


I was going to post my own experience with reading, but you pretty much said it exactly. I do read fairly quickly, but I tend to see things in "cinema vision."
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Aleril » Sat Oct 20, 2007 3:24 pm UTC

Since I am a movie kind of person. I cast the entire thing and then play it out in my head as it goes along.

Its a rather fun experience, until you don't know who to cast someone as.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Cassi » Sat Oct 20, 2007 6:47 pm UTC

I just get the words' meanings...the only time I hear an internal voice is if I'm going back to reread something slowly because it didn't go in properly. (Incidentally, I do hear a voice when I'm typing -- possibly because my typing speed is quite similar to my speaking speed, so it just works.)

My internal voice sounds like a more English version of me.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Pobega » Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:06 pm UTC

I usually have some sort of a narrator's voice running through my mind. Depending on from what viewpoint the book is being told I either have what I think the main character's voice would sound like (Based on his character) or my internal voice (Which just sounds like my voice, except a little deeper).

I have trouble following graphic novels well because of my reading style though, I'm better at interpereting words than pictures.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:44 am UTC

When I start, there's a narrator voice that changes slightly based on the work being presented, and the speakers all get their own voices... after I get going, all that goes out the window and half the time I don't even realize I'm reading anymore.. it's kinda a dreamlike state, trance, meditative state, whatever.. I kinda see imagery of what's going on, and generally become completely oblivious to what's around me. Problem is, stuff that doesn't make sense to me, offends me as an intelligent person... basically bad writing.. knocks me right out of that. And I get annoyed.

I guess that's not really a problem.

Also, I eventually hit a point where I start reading lines rather than chunking it in phrases... I rarely actually read each word anymore.. usually about 3-6 at first, going up to an entire line or more when I get going... makes reading comic books great, as I read a speech bubble in one .. glance, go, look..something.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby jareturns » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:59 pm UTC

I've never really thought of this before, I usually just read stuff with my voice in my head reading the words. I can absorb words too, but I don't tend to remember what it said, as clearly. I can only properly take in the information and store it if the voice in my head is reading it out.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby tiny » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:25 am UTC

When I read in German I do book osmosis (like Flying Betty calls it) only really noticing every other noun and verb.
When I try to read fast in English I have to go back a few words every six or seven words to confirm what I've just read, because the words aren't familar enough yet for my brain to absorb them smoothly and unconsciously. I have a voice in my head then, it just doesn't have a sound... if that is comprehensible...
Being forced to read slowly makes reading more... pleasurable? though. I have to take my time and appreciate every single word - though I don't have to explicitely translate anything (well, exept for words I have to look up on leo.dict.org).
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Re: How do you read?

Postby cessair » Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:27 am UTC

I realised recently that I don't "hear" the words while I'm reading either, I absorb meaning without it passing through my aural processing unit at all.

What tipped me off: I was reading Snow Crash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash) and the first character introduced is Hiro Protagonist. I mentally chuckled, ha ha, protagonist, see, he's the main character. But although I speak enough Japanese to know that Hiro is pronounced "hero", it wasn't until I had read the whole book TWICE and was discussing it afterwards, months later, with a friend that I realised ha ha, Hiro, see, he's the main character. Truly tragic.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby keozen » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:58 pm UTC

I don't know. The story really just flows out from the page into my mind as I imagine it, I don't hear a voice as such.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Retrograde Motion » Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:52 pm UTC

I definitely hear my voice in my head. I've heard that the key to reading quickly is to just sort of let your eyes skim over the words and that your brain actually picks up the meaning...but I've never been good at that. When I'm reading fiction I still hear my own voice in my head, not different characters, and while I don't generally imagine the whole scene with the characters speaking, I do 'see' images of what's going on.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby pieaholicx » Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:02 pm UTC

Hmm...I'd say I don't really read, yet at the same time I do read. I mean sure, I read the words, and I know I read them, but I don't really see the words. It's like the story goes straight in, and then I only see a mental image of what's going on. I often find myself re-reading things because I saw it happen but don't remember it happening. Yeah, I can't explain it too well. As for the voices, they're usually unique to the characters.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Zohar » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:05 pm UTC

Sometimes I hear myself reading in my head, but it slows me down. I like to do it from time to time, though. Usually, I don't have any voice reading it.

I just noticed that when I type, though, I hear myself.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Owehn » Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:01 am UTC

I definitely hear my voice speaking as I read. Until I read this thread I didn't realize there were people who absorbed the content of the words without hearing each one individually.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby terathina » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:58 pm UTC

i read in character voices....
i can "see" them as if it were a tv show or movie

i was so glad to know that my lunch bunch was not the only ones thinking and discussing this topic....we were begining to think we were the only ones...

and only half of us "heard" ourselves "self talking" as we were thinking!

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Trina » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:06 pm UTC

terathina wrote:i read in character voices....
i can "see" them as if it were a tv show or movie

i was so glad to know that my lunch bunch was not the only ones thinking and discussing this topic....we were begining to think we were the only ones...

and only half of us "heard" ourselves "self talking" as we were thinking!



i was getting ready to ask that. i hear myself talking as i'm thinking. sometimes it makes me feel strange, as though i shoudn't 'talk' to myself. is that common?

not entirely off the subject, but usually in those moments, i get very self conscious and it's weird.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby terathina » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:21 pm UTC

i don't think it's uncommon. most of the folks here admit to it.
and we really got everyone thinking if we changed it up and turned the topic to music....
if you said...hey do you remember "you give love a bad name"
almost instantly everyone started humming it, because they "heard" the music in thier heads...
once we got them to grasp that concept...they too realized that they "self talk" / think to themselves all the time!
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