In verbal communication, paralinguistic aspects are the voice cues that go beyond the core verbal message. The paralinguistic features of a speaker’s speech communicate meaning beyond the words and syntax employed. Paralinguistic characteristics include pitch, pace, voice quality, and amplitude.
Other examples of paralanguage include laughter and mimicry. Prosody, which consists of a speaker’s rhythm, pattern, stress, and intonation, is also a sort of paralanguage.
People convey meaning not only through what they say, but also by how they say it. A speaker’s use of paralinguistic elements provides complex meaning, communicates attitudes, and conveys emotion.
Paralinguistic characteristics signal to the listener how to understand a message. Numerous of these paralinguistic characteristics are culturally encoded and innate to spoken communication, frequently on a subconscious level. In many other societies, a typical speaking volume in the United States is viewed as hostile. Nevertheless, people frequently employ paralanguage on purpose. When someone is speaking sarcastically, for instance, he or she may alter the intonation employed.
Some linguists and communication scholars broaden the definition of paralinguistic traits to include non-vocal components, such as facial expressions, body positions and movements, and hand gestures.