Saturday, December 18, 2010

What is paralanguage?

         
The language that how a speaker verbalizes is known as paralanguage. Extra sound and the voice quality while speaking are the parts of the paralanguage. This language operates on signs, signals and stresses. The salient features of the paralanguage are as following:

1-----Paralanguage is not a language but like a language,
 2-----Paralanguage is a middle path of verbal and non verbal communication..
3-----Paralanguage is a language with various signs and signals to communicate between the people.
4-----Paralanguage tells the communicator how to communicate and not what to communicate. Every word of the communicator is effected by the tone of voices, emphasizes stress,bnreaks in the sentences, delivery speed of the sentence, pitch of the voice and the degree of loudness or  softness. Paralanguage includes voice, volume rate,articulation,pitch and other sounds like sighs and throat clearing.
Voice:
Voice tells us many things like background education,sex,temperament and training of the speaker. Voice is of many forms like pleasant,coarse,cultivated clear and musical etc.

Following elements helps to determine the impact of the voice communication:

1-----Pitch variation:
 The use of the pitch depends on one’s state of mind. Some people use high pitched voice when they feel authority. While some people when angry or excited  use high pitched voice.. The art of varying the pitch can be learnt by observing while others speak because this art helps in attracting the listener’s attention which is very necessary in communication.

2-----Volume variation: 
The voice should be loud enough so that it should reach to the audience comfortably. It has been observed that the larger the audience the louder our voice will be.

3-----Speaking speed:
  The speed variation is necessary in order to maintain the listener’s attention. The speed of speaking  matters much while communication. A Speaker speaks at a different occasions. In general one should present the easy part of the message in faster speed and the difficult and the complicated part of the message at a lower pace. As general rule speaking with faster speed should not be confused with the fluency and the efforts should be made to maintain balance in the speed while speaking.

4-----Non fluencies:
 The words like ‘Um’,’Ah’,’Oh’ are used in a communication are being used as space fillers and give the communicator the breathing time and the audience the sufficient time to think over what has been said. But the use of these  non fluencies should be kept minimum to avoid the distraction of audience from the subject of communication.

5-----Word stress:
 Word stress is very important in communication. By putting the stress on the words a person can convey different meanings of a single sentence.

Advantages of the paralanguage:

1-----Mental stage of the communicator:
Paralanguage helps to understand the mental stage of the communicator and thus suggests the way to deal with him

2----- Learning exercise:
This helps the listener to learn from the signals; and thus it is a good learning exercise for a good listener.

3-----Background:
With the help of the paralanguage one can understand the personality,education,nationality and the regional background of the speaker.

Limitations of paralanguage:

1-----Lack of uniformity:
 Because the speakers may belongs  to the different community, culture or region the paralanguage does not bring uniformity in communication.

 2-----Requires attention:
A lot of attention is required on the part of the listener because he has to analyze as to what is said and how it is said.

3-----Misleading:  
The paralanguage is sometimes misguiding or misleading as the listener may not receive the message in it’s original form..

4-----Requires patience:
 It requires the listener to be patient and open minded as it may unnecessarily prejudice him because of speaker’s voice quality or pitch. 

In short paralanguage is a like language and not a language. So one cannot be completely relied upon it. 

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