So I Have A “Distinctive” Voice? What Does THAT Mean?

There is a small craft brewery near my home that has received a lot more telephone calls from the public than normal in the past year or so, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. And I’m one of the people who’s been making those calls – takeout orders of food/beer, delivery orders of beer (which they offered when their indoor operations were closed), maybe occasional calls just to say “Hello” (just kidding about that last line item).

But if I did call this place to say “Hello,” the person on the other end would likely say my name back to me – even if I didn’t offer it to them first. This has happened with more than one staff member at that place, and it slightly weirds me out! Does this mean my future as a crank phone caller is in jeopardy?

The voice you hear coming out of your mouth likely sounds different to other people hearing it. We all learned that as kids playing with tape recorders, didn’t we? We can learn that now by taking videos of ourselves and posting on Tik Tok – a social media platform I have zero intention of ever using or viewing.

I’ve lived all of my life in Michigan, which I’m quite sure is obvious in my speech – especially if you’re a trained linguist. You just never know when and where you might run into one of those people! I remember about 10 years or so being at an Arby’s restaurant in Big Rapids, MI with my father-in-law, and a random linguist whom happened to be in line with us asked if my father-in-law used to live in Blanchard, MI. Why yes, he spent a good deal of his childhood in that mid-Michigan area!

“Blanchard speak” has its unique quirks. My father-in-law and his brother both pronounce the word “measure” as MAY-zhure, whereas most folks simply say “meh-zhure.” It’s a point my husband and I make fun of a bit, and occasionally he can easily slip into the “Blanchard speak” accent and make up fake dialogue involving his mild-mannered uncle (which is very off color and I won’t get into here). Suffice to say it involves him having a dark secret life involving backhoes on his extensive property near Remus, MI.

Rewind to last night, when my husband was talking to a bartender about my voice. She said of my voice, “It’s very distinctive.”

I’m not sure exactly what that means, since as I said before, the voice you hear coming out of your own mouth sounds different to others. About 20 some odd years ago, a co-worker of mine at a local newspaper remarked that my voice was similar to that of actress Claire Danes. As I type this, I’m listening to her in a YouTube video interview with Jimmy Fallon. Do I sound like that? Maybe…You can listen to that here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNOfJdyLF84

And here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_2FYqE5siY

Well, if I do sound like her, I suppose there are worse people to sound like! If someone said I talked like Yeardley Smith, then I’d have to start thinking about either parlaying that into going on the road and doing my own Lisa Simpson skits!

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