Volume of speech

Is it just me or can’t Taiwanese people talk at a normal volume? I live with 3 Taiwanese girls and 1 Taiwanese boy and it’s like they are shouting at each other. I can understand what they say and they are not fighting but it’s like they want to shout over one another. Oh yeah and they are also watching TV as well, also at a higher than normal volume.

It is a bad habit that I have picked up with all my years here, or so my friends in the States say.

Haha. It could not have been more than 5 minutes ago that I commented on this with a Taiwanese co-worker in the school office. I asked why it seemed like she was shouting at someone earlier, and why it seems like even though they aren’t angry, Taiwanese feel the need to yell at each other. :stuck_out_tongue:

Local people are loud? Come on. It

A friend of mine wrote her thesis on the Zhang Yimou movie “To live”. She compared the original Chinese version with the dubbed German version. One point she mentioned was that the normal level of speech in Chinese sounds much louder and much more aggressive than the normal German level. Thus, even though a couple might sound like they are arguing and about to hit each other, they are just having a normal conversation. The German dubbing of that conversation thus had to be on a much lower noise level and much less aggressive to reach a conversation level appropriate to the Chinese original.

I’m definitely not an expert on this. But I would think that one of the reasons why Taiwanese seem to have a higher volume level when having normal conversations would be that they grow up in a much noisier environment than many Westerners do. Just imagine growing up with a TV blaring all the time, different pop songs from every shop you pass, a noise level on the street that it is impossible to have a conversation etc.

However, I’ve also come across the obnoxious foreigner here who spoiled a nice meal in a nice quiet restaurant just by having a conversation with his companions.


It’s just a side effect of the unfreezing process.

Sometimes when I’m on a bus and everyone is speaking Chinese, my mind takes the jumbled input and makes it into English. I know no one is speaking English, but I hear it even though I don’t understand it.

[quote=“iris”]However, I’ve also come across the obnoxious foreigner here who spoiled a nice meal in a nice quiet restaurant just by having a conversation with his companions.


That was probably me. I can get pretty loud when I’m having a conversation with my friends, especially if it’s about a touchy issue…hahaha :smiling_imp:

It’s worse in HK… :unamused:

The Honkies are really loud. I feel that the Taiwanese are somewhat subdues each time I come back from HK.

It’s worse in guangzhou.

Americans don’t mind if people three tables away can hear their conversation even when they are talking about their personal lives.

Us Brits generally don’t like other people nearby to hear what we’re saying so we tend to talk more quietly when we’re in restaurants, coffee shops, on the bus, in the office etc.
There are LOUD exceptions, like my sister who has a voice like a foghorn and likes to make sure everyone in the room can hear her.


ME, I AM NEVER LOUD. i am a quiet person by nature.

I was going to start a similar thread to this a few days ago, after having to suffer through someone else’s stupid conversation in a restaurant recently.

I don’t think that Taiwanese are especially loud. If ever you are in a room full of people and you can hear one conversation above all the others, and it’s not the people closest to you, then 9 times out of 10 the perpetrators will be American. Sorry if this observation offends anyone, but it’s an observation that is unavoidable - except to Americans. Americans tend not to notice until you draw their attention to it.

I tried to convince myself that the problem lay with me, that I simply notice American accents above others because I’m not American. But no, some Americans are louder than everybody else. This was confirmed during the years that I lived in the USA. The majority of people would speak at normal volumes, but a noticeable percentage of them could easily be heard from the other side of the room.

I remember once being on a tram in Germany, full of people. I could hear every word of a discussion between three Americans at the other end of the tram. Loud. Loud. Loud. Taiwanese are mice in comparison.

And if anyone reading this is the person in question, 10000 metres is more than 1.8 kilometres is more than 1 mile, except in Scandinavia.

[quote=“stragbasher”]If ever you are in a room full of people and you can hear one conversation above all the others, and it’s not the people closest to you, then 9 times out of 10 the perpetrators will be American.

I did it, guilty as charged. :smiling_imp:

Sometimes I just get carried away because I forget where I am. Back home, most people don’t think twice about a loud person. But that’s my fault. Gotta be more mindful. :stuck_out_tongue:

Agreed. Americans and some Canadians are loud only because it’s hard to block them out when their nasal tones rise above the mumblings of other languages.

I noticed Aussies are pretty quiet when I was there, but that could be because I’ve been here so long. And it’s the Taiwanese speakers (especially old women with craggy voices) who tend to be the loudest here.

My loudest friend is a Scot. He tends to rave on about things when we talk on the phone and I have to hold the phone away from my head as his voice can be rather piercing! He goes from low pitches to high pitches in one sentence, usually ending on a very high pitch, like a screech owl. :s

I’m American. When I read the first post complaining about the high volume of Taiwan people I thought it was just another culture shocked criticism about something that happens everywhere but is only irritating when Taiwanese people do it. Because I don’t find Taiwanese loud at all. I find them refreshingly soft-spoken. Maybe because, being from the U.S., loud-mouths pontificating on their opinions or giving away personal details in public spaces is not especially uncommon.

I just want to add that many Americans DO NOT appreciate such loud-mouth behavior in public. However, it does happen to be a common annoyance in the U.S. You sophisticated Europeans must enjoy a different public experience indeed to think that overhearing some loud-mouth in a restaraunt or on the street is so unusual.

I don’t think it depends so much on which country you come from - it depends on how noisy your environment is. My mother thought my grandparents talked too loudly, but she realized it was because they came from a big city. In the quiet backwater I call home, they are too loud. (All of us are Canadians.) It takes a while to adjust. Now when I go back home I speak much too loudly for a few days or weeks, until I readjust to the quieter level of background noise.
In general, though, big cities are noisier than small cities or the countryside, and developing nations are noisier than developed. My worry is that constant noise damages the hearing. My 8 years in Asia have definitely hurt my hearing, so I’ll probably end up permanently louder than my family back home.

I don’t mind the high volume of the speaking, that is nothing. Not compared to the extremely high volume of their music, which they blast 24/7 everywhere in Taiwan. Looping the same goddamn song over and over and over 50 times a day. You can’t even walk down the street in peace without thumping pop music pumping out of some store out onto the sidewalk where everyone in a two-kilometre radius can hear. It’s ridiculous. At least in the supermarkets and stores back home, they play inoffensive, soft Muzak. Here they blare annoyingly loud dance music, screeching everywhere you go. Why? Why? For the love of god, WHY?!

:help: :fume: :help: :fume: :help: :fume: :help: :fume: :bluemad: :s :bluemad: :s :bluemad: :help: :fume:

Move up to the sunny forest hill - it’s really quiet here.

Oh, I know! I went to my BF’s hometown, Lung Tan, recently. The “pond” is indeed pretty from afar. Close up, you can’t help noticing the dead fish and turtles floating in the water from the pollution. Then there is the pop music blasting over the loudspeakers which are set up all around the surrounding park. As if that wasn’t enough, someone found it necessary to drive a remote control speed boat across the lake, which made as much noise as a chain saw. :bluemad:

Have to agree with Mr Forehead about the general level of noise here. Much quiter most everywhere in the USA.

I just talked with my American girlfriend about the obnoxious wanker in the restaurant last week. The problem in part was that I could understand what he was saying so, instead of loud background noise, it was loud inane conversation invading my desire to enjoy a quiet chat with her. I’ve been here long enough that I can tune out most of the background noise, but it’s hard to tune out sounds that have meaning.

Having said that, he was speaking twice as loud as the guy he was with. One I could hear if I made the effort, the other I couldn’t tune out no matter how hard I tried. He was American, he was definitely speaking far louder than was necessary, and I don’t care if it upsets some people that I notice this. It upsets me that I have to notice it too.

I have American friends, including the lady sitting next to me. I lived happily in the USA for several years. And the only real criticism I have is that some of you are so wrapped up in yourselves that you can’t appreciate that the rest of us don’t want to listen to you, and take any criticism of your personal behaviour as a sweeping hatred for your country that puts the complainer in the same category as Bin Laden.

I don’t hate Americans. I am frequently embarassed by the behaviour of some of my countrymen. But if you ask me whether I think that Taiwanese are loud I’m going to reply “not as loud as some Americans”.