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Nerdy Nasalness

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In popular media, nerds are often depicted with nasally voices. This is sometimes rationalized by nasal congestion stemming from a lower resistance to allergies, or perhaps a sense of social awkwardness. As such, goes along part and parcel with the Sickly Neurotic Geek, though other types of nerd sport it as well.

This often overlaps with having a Jewish/Brooklyn Accent even if the character is Ambiguously Jewish at best, stemming from the fact that a lot of Nerd stereotypes are based on Jewish stereotypes.

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May go along with a Nerdy Inhaler, Congestion Speak, or Annoying Laugh. It can also be combined with other Speech Impediments. Might overlap with Creepy High-Pitched Voice for certain kinds of monstrous nerds, like Mad Scientists, or a normal geek who's gone From Nobody to Nightmare.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 

    Fan Works 
  • In RWBY ABRG, Jaune has a slight nasally tone to his voice. He's a Butt-Monkey and the most average of the characters (ability wise).
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    Film — Animation 
  • In Shrek the Third, whilst wandering through a medieval high school, Shrek runs into two nerds playing a dungeons and dragons style game. They both have nasally voices.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Kim Possible, Ron is given a more nasally voice than he has in the cartoon. He's a nerdy Unlucky Everydude in a Cool Kid-and-Loser Friendship with Kim.
  • In The Nutty Professor (1963), Jerry Lewis plays Dr. Julius Kelp, a nerdy scientist with an abrasively nasal, Yiddish-inflected voice and a tendency to cause explosions.
  • Harold Kunkle, the title character of the movie Killer Nerd. He was played by Cleveland native Toby Radloff, a local celebrity known for portraying similarly nerdy roles in locally-produced videos dating back to The '80s. This also happens to be Radloff's natural speaking voice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Family Matters: Uber-nerd Polka Dork Steve Urkel has a very distinctive nasal voice, right down to the trademark Annoying Laugh.
  • Parodied on Bones when agent Booth dresses as a lab tech for Halloween and purposely starts talking in a nasal voice. Nobody in the lab actually talks like that, he just thought it made him sound less like the aging jock he actually is.
  • Nicolás Mora of Yo soy Betty, la fea is a grown-up version of the trope, given that he's already an adult office worker instead of a student. In the Animated Adaptation it's even lampshaded in one instance where another character is impersonating him and Betty takes notice that his voice is not as nasal as usual.
  • Starsky & Hutch: Hutch speaks with a nasally voice while undercover as a dweeby accountant in "The Groupie".
  • One Day at a Time (2017): Syd is a geek (just like their girlfriend Elena) with a nasally voice.
  • The IT Crowd: Moss is a stereotypical nerd (socially awkward, works in IT, loves technology like robots, has almost no fashion sense). He's also very nasally.

     Music 
  • Eminem:
    • Especially at the beginning of his career, Em had a very nasal voice that made it difficult for him to get taken seriously - since, in addition to looking like a skinny, white dork in glasses, he also sounded exactly like one. After making many attempts to mask it with different contrived voice tones and accents, he eventually decided to embrace it by making his Alter-Ego Acting character Slim Shady speak in a voice even more nasal and stereotypically-white-sounding than his own actual one - playing up how much of a loser Slim is, despite his over-the-top gangsta behaviour. While he soon stopped doing this voice for Slim and Eminem's voice got deeper as he aged, it's still something he views as his signature:
      Who raps nasally? Eyes hazely?
      Rhymes crazily, but sounds like he may
      Need some Flonase when he's speaking?
      What kind of stupid question is that?
      "Hey, Mrs. Abraham Lincoln!
      Other than your husband's fucking brains that were leaking
      How'd you think that play was this weekend?"
    • Eminem also has a frequent technique where he imitates the voices of other people (usually Moral Guardians whining about his lyrics, or busibodies on intercoms) by pinching his nose. (This was mocked by Aristotle on one of his diss tracks towards Eminem - "don't need to pinch my nose to make my voice sound catchy".)
    • In "SHADYXV" he reverts to his old, squeaky voice:
      Yoooo! Why does it always sound like I'm grabbing my nostrils?

     Radio 
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    Video Games 
  • Red Alert 3: The Allied engineers have a noticeably higher-pitched voice than other Allied personnel, and use Stan Lee's "Excelsior!" catchphrase.
  • In Sly Cooper, Bentley is the sterotypically nerdy tech expert of the crew and speaks with a high-pitched nasally voice.
  • Hal, Emma, and Huey Emmerich all have slightly nasally, higher-pitched voices befitting their socially awkward, nerdy personas, although not to the same exaggerated degree as some others on this list. Huey and Hal share the same voice actor and are father and son, so it makes sense they have very similar-sounding voices.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • Game Grumps:
    • Dinkles the Buff Nerd, as voiced by Arin and Ross, speaks in a nasally voice, showing just how nerdy he is despite being a buff bully.
    • The nerd Dinkles makes fun of speaks in a similar nasally voice.
  • The Call of Warr: Durkin is the most nerdy of the group, and he also has the highest-pitch voice of the cast.
  • Smiling Friends co-creator and Oneyplays star Zach "Psychicpebbles" Hadel is known for this because he broke his nose at a young age, resulting in a severely deviated septum. He never has the same explanation, however.
    Arin Hanson: Why do you talk like that, Zach?
    Zach Hadel: One day my mom and my dad got into a car accident.
    Arin: Aw, really?
    Zach: No.

    Western Animation 
  • As Told by Ginger: Macie Lightfoot, who has many allergies and a nervous Little Miss Snarker personality, has this voice.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbuh 2 speaks with a nasal voice, emphasizing his nerdiness.
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • Dexter's rival Mandark is a nerdy genius who speaks with a very nasally voice provided by Eddie Deezen.
    • Dexter is pretty nerdy (a scientific genius boy who owns a secret lab in his house). His original voice actress Christine Cavanaugh doesn't portray him with one, however, after her retirement, the replacement voice actress Candi Milo gives Dexter an incredibly nasally voice.
  • Edd in Ed, Edd n Eddy speaks in a nasally, slightly high-pitched voice, giving him that nerdy sound to his vocals, though it's debatable on whether his voice sounds effeminate or like the nerdy preteen boy he is.
  • On Family Guy, all the members of the Goldman family (pharmacist Mort, his wife Muriel, and their geeky teenage son Neil) have nasal, stereotypically Jewish voices. A throwaway gag reveals that in Neil's case, this is caused by his orthodontic retainer; without it, his voice sounds incredibly deep.
  • Get Ace: The nerdy protagonist Ace sounds high-pitched and nasal either due to his braces or going through puberty (he's a high school freshman).
  • Kim Possible: Ned, the recurring Bueno Nacho employee, speaks with a very nasally voice, signifying him to be even nerdier than the show's main nerd, Ron. Being voiced by Eddie Deezen helps a great deal.
  • The Loud House: Lisa Loud, the Child Prodigy of the family, speaks with a nasally voice and a pronounced lisp.
  • Over the Garden Wall: Jason Funderberker, who's even more awkward than Wirt, has a squeaky, nasally, unsteady voice to go with his dorky mannerisms.
  • Recess:
    • Gretchen Grundler, the resident Smart Girl with large Nerd Glasses to match, speaks with a very nasally voice.
    • The Pale Kids, the kids who never went outside for recess and instead, stayed indoors to read comic books or play an in-universe equivalent of Dungeons & Dragons, speak with nasally voices.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • The Nerd, among other stereotypical nerd traits, speaks with a very nasal voice.
    • "Gyrorobo", the fat nerd who runs a podcast, is an avid LARP-er, and a Challenge Of The Go Bots fanboy, has a more baritone, but still nasally-sounding voice.
  • Rugrats:
    • Chuckie Finster has a perpetually constipated nose, giving him a nasal voice. He fits other nerdy stereotypes: he's gawky, neurotic, jumpy and bespectacled. One episode has him trying a treatment to cure his condition, but it only works for a short time.
    • Chuckie's father Chas Finster has a nasally voice, complete with Nerdy Inhaler. He wears glasses and looks like a typical adult nerd who is awkward and nervous in most situations.
  • Entrapta of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a reclusive Gadgeteer Genius with a very nasal voice and laugh. When Scorpia starts imitating Entrapta in an effort to find her notes, she makes her own voice much more nasal.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Professor Frink, an exceedingly awkward TV Genius Mad Scientist, has a very nasally voice. He also tends to end phrases with "nghagle".
    • Benjamin, Doug, and Gary, the three college nerds who first appeared to help Homer earn his college degree in "Homer Goes To College", each have nasally-sounding voices to emphasize their nerdy social awkwardness.
    • In "The Last Temptation of Homer", when Bart is being given a series of medical treatments that coincidentally make him appear a nerd, one of them is a throat spray that makes his voice sound like this.
  • Smiling Friends: Charlie and Glep have this because of Zach Hadel's telltale deviated septum.
    • Shrimp has a British version of this trope.
  • South Park:
    • Kyle's cousin Kyle is a stereotypical Jewish nerd. He wears large glasses, he has heavy breathing, due to asthma and he exaggerates his nasally voice. He invokes the Jewish stereotype, much to the former's chagrin.
    • Craig Tucker is a kid known for his nasally voice and ugly laugh. If his room is any indication, he's a nerd who likes space and science in general. He also likes Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
  • Steven Universe: Peridot speaks in a nasal voice, befitting her decidedly awkward social nature and fascination with earthly things.

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