paralanguage

noun
para·​lan·​guage | \ ˈper-ə-ˌlaŋ-gwij How to pronounce paralanguage (audio) , ˈpa-rə- \

Definition of paralanguage

: optional vocal effects (such as tone of voice) that accompany or modify the phonemes of an utterance and that may communicate meaning

Examples of paralanguage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Such sounds are technically known as paralanguage (or vocalics), a field pioneered back in the 1950s by George L. Trager, a linguist who worked in the State Department's Foreign Service Institute. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The “burp-talking” in Rick and Morty isn’t as meaningless as you might think," 6 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paralanguage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of paralanguage

1958, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of paralanguage was in 1958

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Cite this Entry

“Paralanguage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paralanguage. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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