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  • Subject

    even voice (meaning)


    SAM CRAIG (reading stones): Old Farmer McCarty, I used to do chores for him. He had the lumbago.

    JOE STODDARD: Yes, we brought Farmer McCarty here a number of years ago now.

    SAM CRAIG (staring at Mrs. Gibbs*s knees): Why, this is my Aunt Julia....I'd forgotten that she'd ... of course, of course.

    JOE STODDARD: Yes, Doc Gibbs lost his wife two-three years ago...about this time. And today's another pretty bad blow for him, too.

    MRS. GIBBS (to SIMON STIMSON, in an even voice): That's my sister Carey's boy, Sam .. Sam Craig.

    SIMON STIMSON: I'm always uncomfortable when they're around


    (Thornton Wilder, Our Town)

    (Annotation by me: Mrs. Gibbs and Simon Stimson are dead persons but they can speak. They are seated on chairs in a row like the graves in a cemetery. The knees of Mrs. Gibbs are to symbolize her headstone.)



    Hello everybody,

    What is meant by an even voice in this context? Is it a smooth, or a flat voice or a not changing, monotonic voice, or anything else? What do you take even to mean in this context? Please help. Many thanks in advance

    (Please post in English if you like)

    Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  30 Nov 22, 20:07

    If your voice is even, you are speaking in a very controlled way which makes it difficult for people to tell what your feelings are.

    source: Collins Dictionary, entry "even" (adj.), #6


    Clearest definition I could find.

    #1Author reverend (314585) 30 Nov 22, 23:17

    @ #1: Hello reverend, great help! This sounds good to me. Thank you very much for helping me 🙂

    #2Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  30 Nov 22, 23:29

    Hi keeblerelf,

    Since you seem to be so keen on learning, I’ll throw in a couple of freebies:

    1) “What is meant by” is a Germanism. The correct wording is “what does (something something) mean.”

    2) “Thank you for helping” sounds more natural than “thank you for helping me.”

    De nada. :-)

    #3Authorredcranes (766941) 01 Dec 22, 13:08

    Hello redcranes, thank you very much for your feedback.

    In an En- En forum I was told by a native speaker to say for helping me and regarding meant by: in my OALD I read the example What is meant by 'batch processing' ?

    I don't see any distinction between What is meant by 'even voice'? and What is meant by 'batch processing' regarding the meaning of What is meant by. But don't get me wrong, I much appreciate your help. Now I don't know what I have to do actually.

    By the by, I'd be interested if you would prefer to say I don't see any distinction between... or if you would prefer ..any difference Thank you very much.

    #4Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  01 Dec 22, 13:39

    These are not things you can learn by accumulating information, keeblerelf. Language cannot be exhaustively explained. Your English is fine; what you need is a better feel for the spoken language. Find a native English speaker who wants to improve his or her German, set up meetings (shouldn’t be impossible in the age of Zoom, even if you live in a cave) and just talk talk talk and listen listen listen. You’ll start picking up things by osmosis. Seriously. This is no way to learn in the long run, and you’re giving people helping-out fatigue.

    #5Authorredcranes (766941) 01 Dec 22, 13:53

    re #5, one search term for such an exchange is "language tandem" ...

    #6Author no me bré (700807) 01 Dec 22, 16:41

    [OT re #5 ...even if you live in a cave... LOL]

    #7Author karla13 (1364913)  01 Dec 22, 20:00
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