Paralinguistic, Paralanguage and Paralexical Features

These refer to the patterns of pitch, tone, intonation, facial expression, body language and other cues used in speech to convey meaning and emotion beyond the words themselves.

Paralinguistic, paralanguage and paralexical features are fundamental components of interpersonal communication. These categories involve using our voices, faces and body to convey additional colour. They include:

Intonation: refers to the fluctuation of pitch in speech, which can indicate the speaker’s attitude, mood, intention, etc.. For example:

  • Rising intonation at the end of a sentence may show a question.
  • Falling intonation may signal a statement or command.
  • Rising intonation may show uncertainy.
  • Falling intonation may signal definiteness.

    Paralinguistic features that encompass nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, hand gestures, and tone of voice, all of which can add layers of modal meaning to spoken communication. For example:
  • A smile or frown can reveal emotion.
  • A loud or soft tone can convey urgency or emphasis.

Together, paralinguistic, paralanguage and paralexical features deepen our understanding of English and enrich our abilities to communicate effectively.

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