An examination of language-like clusters of words in a Reverse Speech seminar participant

I have taken clusters of language-like words from the reversed speech of a participant at a Reverse Speech seminar and presented them here with an examination of the linguistics and discussion of possible meaning. That I have documented reversals, does not mean I believe that they are real. Some of them can be heard in different ways, and some are not sound enough phonemically. In fact some are quite inane. Audio noise also plays a role in influencing perception here. It is a look at what someone might hear, document and present as Reverse Speech, and an exploration of what may ‘pass the grade’ as Reverse Speech. 

RS: in/and that fuck the raper  

FS: I get moved how um people can be so down and they (?) it just becomes ah joyful and happy and they see a different, their skin changes and they become [happy and confident ‘n i]t it just moves me to see when ….

The raper is behind [happy an]. There is a sense of an /r/ in the RS before articulation of /n/ occurs in the FS, but this could be aided by the audio noise. /n/ produces an approximation of the. Fuck comes from [conf]ident where /n/ is greatly decayed. A northern English [u] vowel occurs (note: speaker is originally from Yorkshire). In/and that comes from confi[dent ‘n i]t.


This is fairly sound linguistically, assuming audio noise did not play too great a part in it. Whether there was a real raper is something that would need to be determined (and also whether it has something to do with the potential words nigga/Muhammed, which occur close by, analysed further below). In the FS there is a great wish for positive, happy experiences, but in the reverse, there is something quite different going on.


RS: Watch me kill one day  

FS: [Yeah, I work in Tro]pic and I’m the senior manager in Tropics.

[o]ne comes from [I w]ork,  /n/ comes at the onset of [I] in the FS (it is possible that the speaker uttered [‘n] before [I] in the FS but the noise masks it). In the FS at /d/ in [day] David Oates speaks at the same time. It sounds like a soft /t/ comes from the speaker and the release of the vowel from David Oates can give the impression of a /d/Kill comes at [work]. There is a sense of [m]e at i[n], but this may be aided by audio noise. Watch comes from [tro]. The rounded vowel combined with the mouth moving towards /p/ produces /w/. tro[pic] produces kep in the RS. There is an assumption the reversal begins after this.


Of course audio noise hinders identification. [day] is uncertain, and there is an assumption of [me] 2) a syllable – kep (tro[pic]) – has not been included. It is not known whether this is something that should be a part of it.

Interestingly, David Oates says in reverse after this “Oh, right”.


RS: I had this attack 

FS: It’s not about money it’s not about possessions it’s not about anything li[ke that, it’s abou]t changing people’s being

The speaker’s emotions produced the /h/, allowing for perception of [I ha]. One can quite easily perceive /d/ at the point of /b/ in FS [about], however, /b/ can still be perceived. One can get a sense of [th] from the constriction at the release of /a/ and onset of /b/ in [ab]out combined with the frication occurring.  Attack comes from li[ke that i]t’s. The FS [th] is decayed and /k/ is heard.


The final in [had] lets this reversal down a little as it is dubious. Perhaps it is meant to be have, perhaps it is gibberish. A very light [th] is not an issue as this can occur in FS.  Otherwise, the stress pattern is appropriate. Based on this, one will need to decide if there is enough that is right about it. Assuming accuracy, one would then need to consider whether it is a negative emotional/psychological event that occurs or occurred to her, or whether it is a physical one, and this may tie it into other reversals documented here.


RS: I kiss Noah. See a loss, some deliverer I want  

FS: Um what’s stopping me from be[ing who I really, my soul is I want to ge]t everything you know I just …

I kiss – t[o get]  /o/ gives sense of I; /k/ from /g/ and /s/ from sibilance of /t/ is reverse.

Noah – [I want] /n/ from /n/; [oa] comes from [I wa]

See a loss – [soul is] [see] from [is]; [a] from release of /l/ moving towards [i]; [loss] from [soul].

some – [my s]oul

deliverer – [I really] /d/ is perceived the release of [y]; sense of /v/ as well as /r/ comes from [I] and /r/ together; sense of an extended [er] comes from including enough of [I]. As a FS version of this word would often not be enunciated clearly in regard to [erer] unless spoken slowly, I find the possibility of [deliverer] reasonable here.

I want – [ing who I] The remaining part of I (not utilised in the [er] above) goes toward producing RS I. /w/ comes from the rounded vowel in [who], and /n/ comes from [ng].


Kiss Noah and deliverer may indicate a strong desire for someone to help her and guide her. The reversal could then be a response to the consultation with David Oates.


This is a long language-like string. Here is an approximation of words.

RS: You/he/it had/got me/my head swimming – it’s true – then head him off – Australian on eggs will beat my egg through 

FS: I work in Tropic, and I’m a senior manager in Tropics (?) and sell (vegan) skin care and make up which I just [love getting on people’s skin and they learnt it from me then, then it just and it moves me when I] can see them change and transform.

(a) RS: You/he/it had/got me/my head swimming 

FS: and it moves me when I

you/he/it had/got – whe[n I]  The emotionality and duration of I creates an aspirated /h/ or, alternatively, the stop nature of the emotional noise can create sense of a [g] /d/ comes at FS /n/The pronoun is uncertain.  

me – m[e wh] The /w/ produces perception of /m/

head – [me] The speaker’s emotionality creates the /h/. Sense of unreleased /d/ occurs at the onset of FS /e/.

swimming – [an’ it moves]  swim comes from moves with /v/ allowing perception of /w/ (but also /l/).  ing comes from a[n’i]t.

(b) RS: it’s true

FS: it just

ju[st] allows a sense of i[t’s] and a further sound produced by the speaker after [just]  allows a sense of [i]t’sThe [j] permits a sense of [tr]ue, however, there is no /r/,  and therefore this is uncertain.

(c) RS: then head him off 

FS: from me then then

then head [then then] This is just one alternative; it is too unclear to be certain of any words.

him off  [from me]

(d) RS: Australian on eggs will beat my egg through 

FS: [getting on people’s skin and they learnt i]t

Aus – learn[t i]t /t/ produces /s/

tra – l[earn t]o – there is an /n/ in the RS rather than /t/.

lian  – [nd they l]earn [th] disappears; /a/ is pronounced rather than a schwa (unpronounced vowel).


on eggs – [skin a]nd  The vowel is indicative of eggs, however the softness of the consonant could make it ex or even aches. 

will beat – [people]’s  a sense of an unreleased /t/ can be perceived at initial /p/ in [people]. /w/ can be perceived at [le].

my egg – [getting on] /m/ is perceived at /n/ as it assimilates to the [p] in the FS; [y] comes from the nasalised /o/ + /i/ in the FS) [ng] disappears and /t/ is glottal like and cannot be heard in the RS); egg is from [ge]tting

through – [love] – frication from /v/ gives sense of [thr]


Of course, this is just one way to hear it.  If there is actual language occurring, some of it is quite likely something else. Her head swimming may be a reaction to the situation she found herself in, speaking to David Oates about herself in front of people; the fact that Oates is Australian makes the closeness to ‘Australian’ interesting. Some of it is certainly rather inane. Just because it sounds like language doesn’t make it language.


RS: Yeah, this is (zh) the end of my bills. Soul wake up 

FS: I want to be able to just not [to worry about money and just to be] financially free again [like I was].

this is (zh) the – mon[ey and just t]o  this – sense of [th] in this comes from release of t[o] in the FS and /s/ from [t]o; sense of the comes from part of [ey] and [an’]; sense of is comes from ju[st]; there is a noise syllable (zh) at [j]ust.

end of my – [about money] /b/ disappears in the RS as does /t/ which had assimilated to /m/ anyway in the FS, therefore m[y] occurs at [about] and  /m/ comes from /m/.

bills – [to worry] an indeterminant sound occurs at the FS release of /y/ allowing some impression of a possible /b/; /ll/ comes from [worr] and /s/ comes from [t]o.

Soul – [was] /w/ creates sense of /l/

wake – li[ke I] Movement of [I] towards /w/ in the FS produces /w/

up – [li]ke David Oates talks over the consonant, so what the speaker utters is unclear. [p] is assumed here for sense. 


There is a syllable of noise (zh). If the reversal was started later, it may still be heard as This is the end …. where (zh) represents is. One can see how an end to bills relates to the FS.


RS: We’re ready it would/Edward (b)ook you for (the) Alice, Alison, (b)ook (m)e for (the) Alice 

FS: an’ to let, to let (other?) people would be a real gift

We’re – [real]  soft /l/ produces /w/ in RS

ready – b[e a r]eal /d/ comes from transition of FS /e/ to /a/ where the tongue is high and forward.

it would/Edward – [would be]  i[t] or E[d] can be perceived at [d b]; /w/ comes from the rounded vowel w[oul]d; /d/ can be perceived at [w]ould.

(b)ook – peo[ple]  A stop /k/ can be perceived at /p/. This is unclear as there sounds like a double consonant at the beginning where one is /l/ and the other /b/ or /d/.

you – oth[er peo]ple  high front vowel allows perception of /y/, and movement of vowel toward /p/ in the FS allows for y[ou].

for (the) [oth]er –  The frication at [th] gives a sense of /f/. The change in intensity between [o] and [th] in the FS gives a sense of [the] following [for], which may not be heard in a more general listening. Here is the The Alice with for not included

Alice – [to le]t There is a pause between Alice and Alison where an unreleased /t/ occurs. Although nothing can be heard, one could also make an assumption that it is Alison.

Alison – [an’ to le]t

(b)ook – peo[ple]  A [k] final is perceived. One can hear [l] as the initial; [b] can easily be heard due in part to the sudden ramping up of energy.

(m)e [peo]ple Initial is actually [p] which comes from the ramping up energy of the vowel [eo]. The FS [p] disappears.

for (the)  [other]  A consonant such as [p] or [f] may be heard o the release of [er] in the FS. There is sense of [the] from [oth] which may not be heard in a general listening.

Alice  [to let] Alice comes from [to le] with the [t] producing [s]. The other [t] in the FS disappears.


Of course this is one way to hear it. Alice is repeated from the FS words [to let], which could just be seen as coincidence; however, one may argue that the subconscious has influenced use of the words.  (b)ook is an issue due to the [l] that can also be heard. It is promotes some interest, however, due to [we’re ready] and [(the) Alice] and the possible book, in view of the speaker talking with David Oates, an Australian, and The Alice being a stereotypical place to visit for overseas tourists.


RS: Put the self-pride, Earls and it numb it, (put) souls in there, (nurse/there?) she/you can’t solve wrecker 

FS: I was very abundant and then um [I kind of lost my passion and lost and went into a dark place (laughter)]. And um I want people to be walking around happy and joyful.

put the – [laughter] this comes at the laughter, could be heard as with the, also. If this is ignored, the reversal begins at self-pride

self pride – [dark place] /p/ can be perceived at FS /k/. /r/ is not really there, so it is assumed. The /f/ is not particularly evident, and it can sound like sell; however, we can assume assimilation of /f/ to [p] 

Earls – [to a] /t/ provides the sibilant as is typical in RS.

an’ it – wen[t in]

numb it – [an’ wen)t a[n] gives a sense of /m/. 

put souls – [lost] /t/ produces sense of the.

in there – [and]  

nurse she/you can’t/ – los[t my passion] – an approximation of nurse occurs. Continuation of /sh/ + vowel allows for some sense of she, but perceived rounded can give impression of you with the sibilant fully part of nurse. With can’t, [c] may be perceived from release of m[y], although this could also be /p/; /m/ may be heard as /n/, and natural ending of can’t can be heard with FS /t/.

solve – o[f lost]

wrecker – [I kind o]f  [nd] decays to /r/; rounded [o] produces /w/. 


Most of the words are reasonable, self-pride is a bit iffy. Perhaps the two put may be meant to be something else. Nurse is doubtful, and this may need to be dropped.  If there is anything in this, we see aspects of her psychology – self-pride, souls, Earls, numb it (self pride or souls?), can’t solve the wrecker. Earls only makes sense if it is accepted as a metaphor for a leading aspect of the Self.


RS: an’ if it’s (a) certain nigga, Muhammed 

FS: I’d be singing down the street singing (?) [with my handbag and just skippin’ a]long

an’ if it’s comes behind [skippin’a]long. The stop effect of the FS /p/ disappears, allowing perception of /f/. /k/ can be heard in i[t]’s, however, similar acoustic cues allow for some perception of /t/ and the influence of FS /s/ in creating a RS /t/ dominates the /k/. The sibilant /s/ is longer than normal. It is possible to perceive [a] following [it’s]. The reason for this is between the /s/ of it’[s] and [c]ertain at jus[t] skipping -though it continues to be a sibilant, intensity drops, emulating someone who doesn’t bother releasing /s/ in order to articulate /a/. certain comes from a[nd just]. The stop component of the affricate [j] allows for /t/ perception. The lengthened [n] from [and] in the FS gives both the [n] final in [certain] and [n] initial in [nigga]Nigga comes from handb[ag an]d, where the extended /n/ in the FS allows for a separate perception of /n/ from certai[n]. The vowel tends to fall into a diphthong /ei/ and the final syllable [ga] tends to have higher stress, so the word may sound a little odd. The stress pattern is interesting, however. The extended /s/ in it’s can occur when someone is hesitating for a moment. Certain drops in intensity as if the speaker knows they could be saying something wrong. The higher stress on ni[gga] could be an intonation pattern to indicate the speaker is saying something important and you should listen. Muhammed comes at [with my handb]ag. The [nd] assimilates to the [b], and in reverse sounds like /m/. Muhamm[ed] occurs at [with]. Closer listening will give a perception of did at [ed]. Therefore, the word is iffy. 


In it’s, /t/ could be /k/. Nigga, although phonemes are there, is articulated a little strangely, and there is a [d] or [th] after the mid /m/ in Muhammed, which can get ignored quite easily. These are the issues with it. That known, one would then need to decide whether there is a reversal occurring or just coincidental sounds.


Immediately following the above reversal in the reverse direction is this:

RS: Slip I hang a (spirit/skirt?), and/in lightning 

FS: I’d be just si[nging down the street singing (happily?)] with my handbag and just skippin’ along ….

Slip is behind what I have assumed might be [happily] in the FS, though it sounds like [hapils].  I hang a is behind s[inging ha]. RS ng is at FS ng. I comes from h[a]. What I noted as skirt/spirit is behind [street s]. The [t s] produces the initial /s/. There is sense of an ambiguous stop consonant from the release of the vowel str[ee]t; one could hear it as /k/, /p/, /t/, or even a /y/ with a hard onset. The final /t/ is produced by [st]reet. Sense of and/in comes from dow[n the]. Sense of lightning comes from si[nging down]. However, it is actually like the sounds for nightding; it is just easy to project the required sounds into it.

There are sounds that follow this, but occur at a different tempo. If they were included it would sound something like an’ nigh ding a slipper with sl a bit distorted.


This is messy and quite inane. Although we can project lightning into it, evidence doesn’t support it.


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