This occurring on a thread of messages and someone previously commented and I replied mentioning they “sounded mad.” Someone then replied, “How is he sounding? I can’t hear him” What is what they did called? Oh- and bonus points, what’s it called when I “heard” the way someone was “sounding” in text?

  • They did a lot of things - which thing are you asking about? – TaliesinMerlin May 17 '19 at 12:16
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    As it stands, your question needs to be more clearly explained. You obviously used the word 'sounded' metaphorically to apply to something read rather than heard. Someone else (I assume in jest) chose to take your remark literally. What exactly is it you want to know? If there is a word for this type of humour (affecting to understand a metaphor literally) I do not know it. – Tuffy May 17 '19 at 13:31
  • My apologies, I suppose I thought it was more complex than me just calling it ‘they took it literally’ thank you though :) – Good Stuff May 18 '19 at 15:33
  • Re: bonus points question. You recognized the signs. You could say you read the signs, whether you actually read them or not. elitedaily.com/p/…. – KannE May 18 '19 at 20:35

The way somebody would sound if they were speaking (and the emotion they would convey), which is frequently unknown from plain text, is intonation or tone of voice.

From Merriam-Webster:

4 : manner of utterance
specifically : the rise and fall in pitch of the voice in speech

tone of voice:
: the way a person is speaking to someone
// I don't like your tone of voice.

It's possible to have the following commentary over a text exchange:

A: "He sounds mad."
B: "How can you tell? I don't hear anything."

What B does in this situation is to make a joke based on a literal-minded interpretation of the words:

: understanding words and statements only in the most basic and ordinary way and not having much imagination

It's a form of pun. A pun is where you take the assumed meaning of a word and, in a punch line, change it into a different and unexpected meaning. But, in this case, it's choosing to play dumb and simply not understand the meaning of sound in its figurative context, and use its literal context instead.

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