Tone of voice

From ActuallyAutistic Wiki

Tone of voice involves saying some words with inflections, to convey things like interest or sarcasm. It's like formatting text in bold or italics, only with many more options.

Often us Autistic people don't notice others' tone of voice, and/or don't use it ourselves.

Allistic people don't expect anyone to avoid tone of voice altogether, so they often perceive someone not using it as being sarcastic, uninterested, depressed, or complaining. Conversely, if we don't spot it, we can take something literally that wasn't intended as such. This often leads to misunderstandings between Autistic and allistic people.

If you know someone who often doesn't use tone of voice — and it's OK to ask them if this is the case — then please don't try to interpret that as them complaining all the time, no matter how tempting.

Please also check if it's OK to try to communicate with us through your tone of voice, as many of us won't pick up on it. You're welcome to use it, but don't rely on it exclusively to get your point across.

We generally prefer to communicate through our words themselves, not the inflections of them.

Remember to communicate more directly with us, as many of us are not able to imply or suggest anything, or pick up on others' implications and suggestions.

Ask us directly how we feel.


Tone in text[edit]

Since tone can't really be read in text, "tone indicators" were developed. Some common ones are:

  • /g (genuine)
  • /gen (genuine)
  • /genq (genuine question)
  • /hj (half-joking)
  • /j (joking)
  • /lh (light-hearted)
  • /rq (rhetorical question)
  • /s (sarcasm/sarcastic)
  • /srs (serious)

Others also known, but less common:

  • /c (copypasta)
  • /cb (clickbait)
  • /f (fake)
  • /hyp (hyperbole)
  • /ij (inside joke)
  • /l (lyrics)
  • /ly (lyrics)
  • /li (literally)
  • /m (metaphorically)
  • /nc (negative connotation)
  • /neg (negative connotation)
  • /nm (not mad)
  • /nx (not-sexual intent)
  • /nsx (not-sexual intent)
  • /p (platonic)
  • /pos (positive connotation)
  • /pc (positive connotation)
  • /r (romantic)
  • /ref (reference)
  • /rh (rhetorical)
  • /rt (rhetorical)
  • /sx (sexual/innuendo)
  • /t (teasing)
  • /th (threat)
  • /x (sexual/innuendo)
  • /sx (sexual/innuendo)