Abstract Little is known with regard to the precise cognitive tools the self uses in acquiring and processing information about itself. In this article, we underline the possibility that inner speech might just represent one such cognitive process. Duval and Wicklund's theory of self-awareness and the self-consciousness, and self-knowledge body of work that was inspired by it are reviewed, and the suggestion is put forward that inner speech parallels the state of self-awareness, is more frequently used among highly self-conscious persons, and represents an effective, if not indispensable, tool involved in the formation of the self-concept. The possibility is also raised that the extent to which one uses inner speech could partially explain individual differences in self-consciousness and self-knowledge. A selective review of the private and inner speech literature is presented, and some possible ways of testing the hypothesis by using pre-existing techniques are proposed in the hope of stimulating empirical investigations. Some implications are outlined in conclusion.