META: Some Thoughts on Problems in Characterization in Serial Literature

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Thu Aug 9 17:31:31 PDT 2007

On Aug 9, 12:17 pm, Jamie Rosen < at> wrote:
> On Aug 9, 5:14 am, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at> wrote:
> > On Aug 9, 4:04 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> > > The second problem with the speech pattern fallacy is that, to be
> > > frank, in my personal experience, most people don't have "speech
> > > patterns".  
> > Yes they do, Tom, yes they do, and not only do different people talk
> > different ways (going beyond their accent or their vocabulary but also
> > their choice of grammar and overall tone of voice) but individual
> > people talk differently under different circumstances.
> I hate to say this, but I agree with Martin. *rimshot*
> Working in a job where I talk to dozens upon dozens of different
> people per day, without the benefit of any physical cues (telephone
> customer support), I see a lot of speech patterns. Some of them appear
> to be cultural (statements that sound like questions due to
> intonation), and some of them appear to be individual (calling
> everyone, regardless of gender, "Hon" and "Honey".)

By speech patterns, I refer not to rhythms of spoken speech, but to
word choices.  I agree with Martin, though, that people talk
differently under different circumstances.

I withdraw my generalization about persons not having any speech
patterns, while still maintaining that the "unique voice" is,
generally, a shallow method of characterization.


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