Little (reading) voices

I have a few questions for all my fellow readers out there about how you go about reading something? I ask these questions mainly to see if I am the same as everyone else or if I am very different?

1. When reading something that has footnotes, do you (a) read the footnote as soon as you come to it in the text; (b) wait until you finish the sentence in which the footnote appears; (c) wait until you finish the paragraph in which the footnote appears; (d) wait until you finish the page on which the footnote appears; (e) skip the footnote all together?

For me, the answer is (c). I wait until I’ve finished the paragraph in which the footnote appears and then jump down to the bottom of the page to read the note. Strangely, I can never remember being taught a proper “method” for doing this in school.

2. When reading something in parentheses, does your internal reading voice change in any way?

For me, the tone of my internal reading voice changes when I read something in parentheses. It’s almost as if the volume of the voice gets a bit lower, as if whatever is being said in parentheses is being stage-whispered. I don’t know why the voice does it. It is subconscious and I have no control over it. Is that unusual?

3. When reading a quoted word, or phrase that is intended to call out the phrase, but does not represent dialog, does your internal reading voice change? For example: He wore those crazy-colored shoes in order to act like he was “with it”.

When I come to quotes like this in a passage, my reading voice pauses ever-so-slightly before and after the quote. During that pause, I imagine the person behind the disembodied voice holding up his hands and making quote marks with his fingers.

4. Does your internal reading voice sound like you?

For reasons I have never fully been able to explain, my internal reading voice sounds within my head like someone who has lived their entire life in Brooklyn. I never lived in Brooklyn and I don’t know too many people who have, but the voice has always sounded like this to me, as far back as I can remember.

5. Does your internal reading voice ever add its own criticism and comments to what you are reading?

Mine does, only if I am reading something particularly bad. I’ll be reading along at a good clip, come across something hideously written, and without the words ever appearing on the page, my internal reading voice will sigh and say, “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me!”

Your answers to these questions will help me to feel more or less normal, so leave a comment when you have a moment and let me know what you think.


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