The Round Table: Voices in Your Head

September 18, 2013 Round Table 15

In our last Round Table discussion, I asked if you imagined famous people as book characters while reading. This time I’m curious about accents.

I have a confession…let’s say I’m reading a historical fiction based in Victorian England, I don’t hear a British voice as I read. Nope. The characters may be 100% British in print, but in my head they sound like normal Americans. Even if I read a book set in Scotland it’s rare that I can hear a Scottish accent as I read and that makes me sad because I lived in Scotland for a over a year! One would think I would easily slip into accent as I read, but it doesn’t happen. Even if an author writes words where you can clearly hear the Scottish brogue, I don’t hear it. It’s rare that an author can capture it and I’m not sure why some books achieve that goal and yet others fall flat.

Then there’s the added accent to dialogue when the author hasn’t given an ethnicity. It’s funny how things like that get attached to a character as you read. For example, a few weeks ago I was reading this contemporary romance set in Seattle and for some odd reason, a character sounded French! Out of no where this character developed a French accent and the author never stated he was French, etc. Then there’s another book where the heroine became Italian in my head and it was a historical fiction book set in the Wild West of America. You’re probably thinking that I must have watched something to influence this change and can I honestly say I didn’t.

Do you hear variations of accents as you read? Or do you make an effort to hear an accent?

15 Responses to “The Round Table: Voices in Your Head”

  1. Sophia

    I never ever hear an accent in anything other than American. Unless, of course it’s written out in a particular accent – for example, I know that Cockney accents are commonly written out phonetically, with their dropped “haiches” etc. Then, and only then, do I hear the accent in my head.

    ~Sophia
    Sophia recently posted…Swear Words in LiteratureMy Profile

  2. Cee

    YES. I am the same way. I always imagine an American accent in my head instead of a British or Scottish, especially when I read historical romances set in Great Britain. I know they have different accents, but my brain refuses to even attempt to imagine it.

    I think I can hear the accent if I was reading a contemporary novel. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a little more accessible to me?

    (btw, A++++ for Robin Hood: Men In Tights gif.)

  3. Arial

    I am absolutely terrible at accents. I truly can’t speak with any kind of convincing accent. I think that’s why I always read characters as American in my head, even if they have been written with an obvious accent.

    I wish to one day have a convincing foreign accent, but alas, I don’t think that will ever happen.
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  4. Jasmine @ Flip That Page

    HAHAHA I struggle with reading books with accents! Even if authors specifically say they’re British or Irish, or something with a distinct accent, I still read it the way I say things– American. HAHA. It’s weird but I suck at voicing them out in my head while making a conscious effort to make them sound the way they’re supposed to XD
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