Paralinguistics

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Paralinguistics

 

a branch of linguistics studying sound features that accompany speech but do not pertain to language. Paralinguistics studies, for example, loudness of speech, uncodified variations in intonation, the distribution of pauses, and sounds used to fill pauses, such as mmm … in Russian or “hmm …” in English.

The concept of paralinguistics was introduced in the late 1940’s by the American linguist A. Hill, but Soviet scholars had been investigating paralinguistic phenomena as early as the 1930’s (N. V. Iushmanov’s Extranormal Phonetics). In a broader interpretation, paralinguistics includes kinesics, the study of the facial expressions and gestures in relation to communication. Modern Soviet linguistics devotes a good deal of attention to paralinguistics partly because of the general theoretical interest in the structure and flow of communication. In addition, paralinguistics is studied for the practical reasons of determining how various speech techniques influence listeners and of identifying emotional states through speech.

REFERENCES

Nikolaeva, T. M., and Uspenskii, B. A. “Iazykoznanie i paralingvistika.” In the collection Lingvisticheskie issledovaniia po obshchei i slavianskoi tipologii. Moscow, 1966.
Kolshanskii, G. V. Paralingvistika. Moscow, 1974.

A. A. LEONT’EV

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