Different People, Different Voices

I have no interest in this topic seeing as I have no accent, I’ve never been against other people’s accents, and never been affected by a family member/ friends accent. I’ve always heard strong accents, and maybe I have judged or poked fun, but they’ve never really affected me personally. But, this is not just about accents it’s really just about your speech in general, so I guess I will talk about what i’ve noticed with my voice, particularly how I talk to people depending on who they are. Even though I have a defining personality that stays with me everywhere sometimes I change a little depending on the person I’m with.

I walk to the cafeteria filled with loud noises, and rushing feet,. I come to the table closest to the lunch line where I find my friend Amanda eating what the school district calls “food”. I set my backpack down on the table, rush to put my frozen chicken masala in the microwave and find a seat next to her.


“Hi” Amanda says.

“How has your day been going”?” I say somewhat sarcastically.  

She takes a deep breath and starts shaking her head.

“Oh god, I just can’t anymore with these teachers. They’re drawin’. I mean Mr. Abbott has a test and a benchmark due in the same week. And guess what! I have to do this asshole’s homework too! We laugh. “I just can’t anymore.’

“Well I’ve got two fuckin’ benchmarks due in the same week. Mr. Chase has one due this Wednesday, and Mrs. Jeffreys is due this Friday. Thank god she changed the date or it would’ve been due on Thursday, I would’ve been fucked!” I say in one breath.

We laugh again, and attempt to eat our lunch in this chaotic cafeteria. Eric walks over to our table and stares and Amanda’s lunch.

“Hey” We say.

“That shit looks like cat food. That’s disgusting.” He says pointing at it, laughter.

“More like cat vomit. “ I say. More laughter.

“No it looks like sweat. Like fucking sweat!” He says. Even more laughter.

“I don’t even know if I want to eat it anymore.” Amanda says.

“ I wouldn’t.” I say. Eric nods his head in agreement. Amanda throws out her food looking hungry and tired.

“Can I have some of your’s?” She says eyeing my food. I give into her puppy eyes and let her have some of my chicken masala.

When i’m with my friends I obviously talk how ever I want to. I curse, talk trash, and am overall incredibly vulgar. And so are my friends. It’s not a bad thing, everyone does it, but you only do it in front of the appropriate people. If I were to talk this way in front of an adult, I probably wouldn’t get a positive response. And, in my case wouldn’t, which is why I talk much differently with adults, particularly my dad.

I sit down at the kitchen table, waiting for my food to be served. My dad scoops up some mac and cheese into my bowl. After giving himself a serving he sits down. We start eating, at first in silence with jazz in the background, and then  my dad starts to talk.

“How was your day at school today?” He asks. He asks this a lot. I guess all parents do.

“Good.” I say.

“Well what did you do?” He asks.

“Nothing much.” I answer. “Just went to classes, talked to friends and stuff.”

“Oh. Well what do you have for homework?” He says.

“I have this history project…” I say.

“About what?” He says.

“Um, well it’s like this project where you have like a fake wikipedia page, and the topic is religion, and everyone does something different on religion. I'm doing art and religion.” I say.

“That sounds cool.” He says.

“Yeah the religion’s I’m doing are Islam and buddhism so I have to do some research on that…” And that’s when a billion other questions come in, and his knowledge on art, religion, buddhism, islam, and pretty much everything else that has ever existed. He also asks me if he can see some photos of this religious art that I have found. I of course have none, so I have to look up some google images.Then after realizing I already finished my meal I clear my plate and ask to be excused.

“Thanks for the dinner dad. It was really good.” I say.

“Your welcome. Make sure to show me those pictures!” He says.

“I will.” I say.

My voice changes when I talk to certain people. I am louder, more vulgar, and more revealing with my friends, while I don’t really know what to say with my dad or most adults in general. I don’t feel like I have to act a certain way in front them, or I have to say certain things to please them. There is no pressure, no worry with them, and I can say mostly what I want. I don’t know if this how your life works, maybe you feel the opposite way, or at least have more freedom to speak towards your parents/ adults. But, I think one thing we can all agree on is we don’t talk or act exactly the same with everyone.

Comments (2)

Michaela Peterson (Student 2017)
Michaela Peterson

This was a really interesting essay. Your first line was what really got my attention. I think that everybody has been in that position before. I really liked the way you added stuff about the homework and projects we've had. It made everything much more relateable.

Chhievling Seng (Student 2017)
Chhievling Seng

I feel like everyone have their way of talking to certain people. I really think you made a good point on this. I for example talk way differently with my family and how I do to people I see at school, or how I would talk to my close friends. I really enjoyed reading your dialogue, it seems like you didn't hold back or sugar coat, I like how you put the rawest form of how students or your friend and you would talk. It shows a level of comfort or bonding you have between one another to show the point you made about speaking different from people to people.