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What if in a alternate reality, every bear on planet Earth suddenly evolve and became sapient like humans, and evolve the ability of speech, but realistically, what would their voices sound like? would their voices sound like humans or something different?

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    $\begingroup$ ??? Bears roar and growl. The vocalizations of bears do not resemble human voices, like, at all. This is how bear vocalizations sound. (PSA: Bears are most usually silent. They vocalize only in unusual circumstances, for example when courting another bear or as a warning to intruders on their territory.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ I voted to close as a duplicate a question that was more general than this but remarkably like it. That question has since been deleted. Was that your question? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH, I feel that this question comes from a different direction than the one you provided. Yours says "how would animal parts effect human speech" whereas this one asks, "If bears were granted just enough human anatomy to speak, what would they sound like?" This is, I think, a simple thing to answer, but we might explore which adaptations (agile lips and tongue, for instance) that would be necessary. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 28, 2022 at 22:49
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    $\begingroup$ Parrots have no problem imitating us and they have beaks, they use other structures in their throat .. you say the bears have evolved so they can have similar structures if you want, it would be entirely up to you as the author .. without details on how they've evolved and changed physically this can't be answered and will only attract opinion .. plus @JBH is right, this is a duplicate of the one he links, VTC. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ Agree with the closure, the other question is more general. I've put an answer with bear as an example, worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/235169/86094 $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


Frame Challenge:

If bears had evolved complex language it still probably wouldn’t be anything like a human voice. Bears have a substantially wider frequency range than humans, being capable of hearing sounds between 40,000 and 60,000 hertz. A bare fact about bears is that they hear way better than humans. Therefore it’s likely much of their speech would be imperceptible to humans. Likewise humans have much better color vision in comparison to bears. Bears also have an incredibly good sense of smell, so a lot of bear communication is smell based.

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    $\begingroup$ Bears communicate at lower frequencies now, so I don't think their range would change if they started articulating more. $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Commented Aug 28, 2022 at 1:42
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    $\begingroup$ exactly @Atog.. frequency of sounds animals produce are (in general) inversely proportional to the size (volume) of the animal.. except when they have special nervous system to produce fast vowels and fricative onsets like clacking sounds etc.. but that would require bizarre bears, and a strong phonetic science fiction component and I don't know if that topic is really popular (grin) $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 22:39