While reading silently, we often have the subjective experience of inner speech. However, there is currently little evidence regarding whether this inner voice resembles our own voice while we are speaking out loud. To investigate this issue, we compared reading behaviour of Northern and Southern English participants who have differing pronunciations for words like ‘glass’, in which the vowel duration is short in a Northern accent and long in a Southern accent. Participants' eye movements were monitored while they silently read limericks in which the end words of the first two lines (e.g., glass/class) would be pronounced differently by Northern and Southern participants. The final word of the limerick (e.g., mass/sparse) then either did or did not rhyme, depending on the reader's accent. Results showed disruption to eye movement behaviour when the final word did not rhyme, determined by the reader's accent, suggesting that inner speech resembles our own voice.
Filik, R., & Barber, E. (2011). Inner speech during silent reading reflects the reader's regional accent. PLoS ONE, 6(10), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025782