Shouty voices sometimes hurt my ears. | MDB Digital


One of the things which triggered my attention when I first came to live here in Mallorca was how ‘loud’ conversations could quickly become. At first, I seriously thought everyone around me was arguing! In fact, I was once sitting outside a local bar/café and convinced myself that a massive ‘rumble’ had broken out inside. It turned out to be nothing more than an excitable discussion over the advantages of row-crop tractors, where half the locals joined in to up the joyful anti!

It seems everyone in Mallorca has an opinion, and why not? Locals like nothing more than to air their individual views at ‘volume’, even if no-one else is interested, with everyone shouting over each other at the same time, airing their thoughts while not really listening to the discussion around them, yet having a wonderful time with their own opinion into the bargain!

Of course, not everyone on the island is ‘shouty shouty’, yet it’s fair to say that a lot of Mallorcans are loud! As a culture, they like their music along with their conversations, fiestas and everything else, loud. Children are loud as they compete to be heard above their parents. Dogs are loud as no-one checks or bothers with the canine cacophony against the joyful, robust soundtrack of our Mediterranean rhapsody. It goes with the territory!

We have a woman in our village with a cutting voice like a ship’s foghorn. She starts all her conversations at least 10 metres away from whoever she’s talking to, and gets louder and louder as she approaches. Her voice quacks duck-like, as it grates and grows, unsurprisingly heard above all others in the village square, but then I suppose that’s the idea! The louder you are, the more important you must be? Or hello . . . not!

It has been widely reported that the ‘shouty shouty syndrome’ began in the fields, with people yelling at each other in order to be heard over the rumble, grind and whine of agricultural machinery. Yet surely, not everyone on the island is descended from farming stock! Are they? And did the machinery make them all deaf? It’s 2024 now yet people still shout across the road at each other with not a combine harvester in sight. They shout across rooms. Across tables. I’ve even had people standing at arm’s length who shout at me as if I’m completely deaf! Far from it. Shouty voices sometimes hurt my ears. Projection is a great thing if you’re on stage and trying to be heard at the back of a packed theatre, but in everyday situations it’s really NOT necessary. If you’ve got something interesting or important to say, then people will take note of the narrative and listen even if your voice is a hushed whisper. No need to blast or shout!