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I am from the UK, and am not familiar with the term "speech balloon".
I have always used and heard "speech bubble" instead.

Are the 2 meanings the same?
Is there some kind of difference in British/American English usage?
(I don't really use speech bubbles so could be due to lack of knowledge.)

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    Both terms are in use and mean the same thing - the white area that speech is written into in comics with an arrow pointing to the speaker. – Oldcat Nov 7 '14 at 0:34
  • I seem to have seen them described as 'call outs'. Or am I thinking of something else? – WS2 Nov 7 '14 at 1:02
  • @WS2- it depends on what they're used for. IF they are on a diagram and are calling out or making specific note of a feature then they're a call out if they are in a comic containing spoken dialog then they are not a call out but rather a "speech balloon" or "speech bubble". I might make a distinction between bubble and balloon based on the type of connector between the person and the speech. if the connector is a series of small (or progressively larger bubbles) then I'd call it a bubble. If it's a thin line like the string of a balloon, then I'd call it a balloon. – Jim Nov 7 '14 at 1:35
  • I'm partial to speech dirigible, but only if the speaker is running. – Drew Nov 7 '14 at 5:07
  • @Jim the series of bubbles of increasing size is usually used for thoughts, not speech. I think they usually lead to a cloud rather than an oval or rectangle. – Barmar Nov 9 '14 at 23:19
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The meanings are the same. You can also use dialogue balloons or word balloons. Just make sure you're not mixing up speech bubbles with thought bubbles.

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