Talk:Paralanguage

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Merging Paralanguage and Paralinguistic competence[edit]

a competence is not the same thing as the thing one is competent in. I feel the desire to merge is a result of both articles being stubs.

If metalinguistic compentence were expanded into a full article, I would expect topics such as: assessment, a list of drugs, disabilities and diseases that affect competence (various affective disorders, autism, stroke, etc), a discussion of treatment modalities, etc. -and- of course a cross reference to paralanguage.

If paralanguage were expanded into a topic, I would expect a discussion of the kinds of paralinguistic communication, cultural variations within a single language, a brief history of research on the topic, and a list of other related linguistic areas, for example pragmatics. Egfrank 23:52, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Imprecise introductory paragraph...[edit]

The wording here (pasted below) needs to distinguish between non-linguistic, but voiced elements (which it later refers to as pitch, volume and intonation) and non-verbal (ie un-voiced) elements which are referred to later in the text..

"Paralanguage refers to the non-verbal elements of communication used to modify meaning and convey emotion. Paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously, and it includes the pitch, volume, and, in some cases, intonation of speech. Sometimes the definition is restricted to vocally-produced sounds. The study of paralanguage is known as paralinguistics."

Jeroboambramblejam (talk) 02:06, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree and too found the introduction bewildering, primarily because of the reference to communication. I have simplified and focussed the intro on the common definitions of paralanguage as referring to human speech. LookingGlass (talk) 13:07, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Future major edits[edit]

-A brief history of the study of paralanguage will be added, hinging mostly on Mary Ritchie Kay's book Paralanguage and Kinesics -Specific findings of psycholinguistic literature pertaining to the effects of paralinguistic variation will be detailed to enrich specifically the "Expressive aspect" subheading (four studies: one EEG, one off-line, two fMRI base).

 -Van Berkum 2008: semantic coherence (N400) of utterance/identity mismatch
 -Nygaard and Lunders 2002: off-line transcription of emotional homophones
 -Dietrich et al. 2008: fMRI data regarding emotional interjection
 -Groen et al. 2011: sensitivity to paralinguistic information in Autism spectrum patients

-Language will be adjusted for clarification -Edits will be made wholesale and are in progress

--MAJOR EDITS COMPLETE Dkusa22 (talk) 17:04, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Proposed merger of gasp and sigh into Paralanguage.[edit]

Both gasp and sigh are short articles with little potential for expansion on their own, but which are significant examples of paralanguage. I propose merging all of these together. Cheers! bd2412 T 00:49, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done

DISPUTE re: origination[edit]

The following is an exchange with another editor regarding a reference ti Gregory Bateson as the originator of the term Paralanguage. As no meeting of minds has been possible on the other editor's Talk page, I am posting it here in the hope of assistance with resolving the matter. Apologies for the repetitiveness and circularity of it.


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You have "reverted" an edit I made, to the article Paralanguage. You deleted part of my edit on the basis that it was "original research". I think this is an error and, as I have been unable to find any explanation for what you did on the Talk page, I have undone it. My understanding is that paralanguage is a term coined by Gregory Bateson. To delete the reference to Bateson and his definition of the term therefore, on the basis that it is "original research", seems to me to be nonsensical. Trying to create a fuzzy neo-definition for the term was imo what led the original article into its original confusion, as is noted on the Talk page, and, it seems to me, this confusion was addressed by my edit. If you disagree with the logic of including the reference to Bateson in the way I did it, then please revert once again BUT setting out your reasons for doing so on the Talk page so that we may follow your understanding of the subject and take a view accordingly. Thank you. LookingGlass (talk) 10:59, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

LookingGlass, I understand your inclination to quote Bateson, and have no doubt that you are doing so correctly. But the rules require a reliable third party secondary source to establish the definition even if the definition is Bateson's, rather than conducting your own original research into first party original sources. (See Wikipedia rules on combinatorics / RS.)
There's a reason for those rules to be in place. Original sources can mean different things at different times. That was true for other terms Bateson used. For example, logical levels meant conceptual categories in one of his books, and distinct levels within a single category in another work. The Wikipedia rules address these dilemmas.Encyclotadd (talk) 16:57, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
I understand the point you are making, and the reasoning behind the wiki rule, but in some cases it seems to me to produce absurd results if inappropriately applied. I would argue this is such a case. The term paralanguage was originated/authored/created/etc by Bateson. This does not appear to be in dispute. To claim that stating this fact constitutes "original research" would seem to lead to any citing of any reference as being categorisable as original research. Bateson's book IS here the historical record and is verifiable. Replacing the "terms" in your argument, I assume that you would not argue that E=MC2 should not be cited as being Einstein's formula without the provision of a third party reference that quotes the formula and and attribuites it to Einstein. It would be sufficient to directly quote that part of Einstein's work where he sets it out. It would then be for others to find that the formula predates Einstein etc. We seem to then be left in this case only with an opinion of whether Bateson is or is not notable. I cannot see that he is not. If wikipedia does not allow the historical record to be quoted that would be a nonsense but I do not believe this to be the case. LookingGlass (talk) 11:09, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
The goal of editors is to reflect what is expressed in third party reliable sources-- not original sources. Editors will certainly permit an edit quoting an original source but that edit must reflect views of reliable third parties. It would be a particukarly good idea for you to follow this rule when editing other more controversial articles.Encyclotadd (talk) 12:16, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
As you have chosen not to address the point I made, that sounds high handed. Every society needs rules. Justice however, relies not simply on the letter of the law but on its spirit. Rigid enforcement of rules haas bizarre results, which is why legal systems have judges. The point you are "enforcing" here (to what end?) is aimed, as i understand it, at preventing: 1) original research that is not the wiki equivalent of "peer reviewed", and 2) the promotion of articles that do not meet notability requirements and/or are merely promotional. Neither apply here. I am also getting the feeling that you consider this article to be "yours", and that it is therefore your role to permit or otherwise edits that other editors make. I think your role is to be a member of the coop of editors and to work cooperatively with them to improve articles. I gave you the opportunity to explain your position, but you seem only to quote the "law", as its judge and jury. LookingGlass (talk) 19:57, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
LookingGlass, Please don't edit war. I didn't make the rules. If you don't like them, please take them up with the parties responsible.Encyclotadd (talk) 20:04, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
Encyclotadd, imo if this is an "edit war" is you who have initiated it. To me it is a disagreement over your editing of mine. The difficulty you might be feeling is arising from your refusal to address the issue, preferring it seems to rely solely on the letter of wiki guidance, as if this were a Law which it is your role to uphold. You ARE the person responsible in this instance. There is no other I know of. IMO we are BOTH editors of equal standing and right to our opinions on the interpretation and application of guidance to editing practice. If you have the need at this point and would like to cite an appropriate forum for mediation please do so. To reiterate my point more simply: a reference may stand for itself if it is a reputed source i.e it does not require validation from a 3rd party eg the first occurence of something IS its first occurrence, it is a reference that stands for itself and does not need to be verified by a 3rd part as existing. If it is not a first occurrence, for instance, then it needs to be demonstrated that this is so, by reference to another reference that again would stand for itself. LookingGlass (talk) 11:52, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Linguistics (especially meta) is complicated and definitions not easily arrived at. In this case you are attempting to impose your view of a definition without a third party reliable source through original research. That is improper because the word meant different things at different times. Please find a third party source -- if your original research is right that should be easy for you to do.Encyclotadd (talk) 13:19, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
I understand the point you are making, however it seems to me that it is you who are imposing a theory ie that the term: "meant different things at different times". It is this which appears to me to be the O.R. here and the onus therefore on you to show that this is so. I am NOT defining anything. I am merely referring to the historical record. This record, in this case a publication, is evidence of itself. It does not require a third-party to "verify" it. What the historical record clearly shows is that the term existed at a precise point in time, in a particular document, written by a particular author, and therein is defined in some detail both in it's evolution, context and meaning. As non-existence cannot be proven, any third party statement that a book says what a book says is as incapable of doing better than the historical record of which it is a part. It cannot be proven that such a thing was not said before it was said in that book. What is needed is proof. That's it. The absence of proof is not a proof of absence, and simply saying "well it may be.." is vapid. Consider this: I (the word "Paralanguage") was born on a certain day, at a certain, place, at a certain time. My birth certificate (the historical record / the referenced book) is held as evidence of this fact. However, while someone might be able to prove the document is a forgery I cannot prove that it is not. I can only demonstrate it "beyond reasonable doubt". In the absence of proof to the contrary, the historical record, as it is known at any time, is what is by definition THE historical record. The historical record is NOT a commentary ON the historical record (except of course that such commentaries are part of the historical record). It is the sum total, in whole and part, of those documents, records and artefacts of which it consists. It does not require a third party to interpret it or provide a reference to it, in the manner ancient that priests used with sacred texts, but only to the be referenced directly - by citation - as I did. LookingGlass (talk) 11:57, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
No I'm not asking anyone to accept my definition. Mine would be very different from what's written, and is absolutely based on original research, which is why I'm refraining from the change. You on the other hand are doing original research and asking others to accept it as valid when you do not have third party reliable source to verify the claim. I would urge you to review the rules because they are quite clear on the types of sources that are acceptable. You may wish to note combinatorics when doing so because there is a major difference in treatment of first party primary versus third party secondary sources. If you would please grasp that difference we wouldn't have to have this conversation.Encyclotadd (talk) 14:17, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
There are many rules here, and even one WP:IAR which says to ignore all rules if this is necessary to improve Wiki, but my interest is in improving Wiki articles not legal nicety. However for some reason I cannot see and you do not disclose you are obdurately set on obstructing such improvement with claims that citing Bate's work amounts to "Original research" on my part! You put forward no concete argument just vague reference to "the rules". Please don't reply with a blizzard of every conceivable reference you can find that relates! The facts seem to me simple : 1) Bates' work is acceptable as a source. 2) Authors are quoted as evidence of themselves as originators of that which they author. 3) The historical record is as is currently evidenced until contradicted by evidence. However here, with you, there is some notion that only if a "third party" verifies that an author authored something, is that author then deemed to have authored it. This seems patently absurd as far as I can see. What are you trying to accomplish in practical reality here? You seem far more concerned with enforcing your understanding of first, primary, second, seconday, third, tertiary etc source classification than with the article. I have cut and pasted this conversation into the Tak page of the article so that others may contribute and the issue can be resolved as this exchange is not getting to grips with the issue. LookingGlass (talk) 12:31, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

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Thanks in advance LookingGlass (talk) 12:37, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

"Sigh" and "Gasp" here?[edit]

I see that Sigh and Gasp were merged into this article pursuant to an inquiry above, but this seems incorrect to me. As the text states, "Like a gasp, a yawn, or a moan, a sigh is often an automatic and unintentional act." Or like scratching an itch, etc.? And also, "Behaviors equivalent to sighing have also been observed in animals such as dogs, monkeys, and horses." So in what sense is it paralanguage? It's a physical reaction (which happens to have an audible component) rather than a form of communication. This is true notwithstanding that, in writing, we communicate that we are sighing in reaction to something by writing "*sigh*": I've been known to write "(fainting)" in response to a message about something startling, but that doesn't make fainting a form of communication. —Largo Plazo (talk) 16:25, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

As the lede indicates, paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously, and I don't think it matters at all that such behaviors have been observed in animals (many language functions have been so observed). I suppose it would be possible to restore the individual articles at Sigh and Gasp, but they are both examples of communication - whether conscious or unconscious - through respiration. bd2412 T 16:44, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
It seems to me that the lede is full of contradictory observations. It's unconscious, therefore, it isn't intentionally directed at anyone, and no one's around to hear it, but it's still "communication"? What distinguishes them from coughing, sneezing, hiccuping, and belching? Or should they also be classified as communication and as paralanguage. —Largo Plazo (talk) 18:36, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
A sigh or a gasp can be unintentional, but can also be intentional, and intended to communicate. I suppose a cough (or at least a fake cough) could be intentional also, but the sigh and the gasp tend to convey specific emotions. There are sources that class these specific acts as paralanguage, and everything else that is classed as paralanguage can be done by a person sitting alone and not thinking about what they are doing. However, if these are not paralanguage, then what are they? Is there another term to describe possibly meaningful patterns of inhaling/exhaling? bd2412 T 18:56, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't know what else they'd be called, but they fall into the same category as scratching an itch. —Largo Plazo (talk) 22:23, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Do you scratch an itch with your respiratory system? bd2412 T 22:27, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
The respiratory system is just a body part, and "communication" doesn't mean "everything the respiratory system does that happens to make sound". Snoring isn't communication. —Largo Plazo (talk) 04:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

I will prefer to go with the sources:

  • Paolo Petta, ‎Catherine Pelachaud, ‎Roddy Cowie, Emotion-Oriented Systems: The Humaine Handbook (2011), p. 776: "Paralanguage: Nonverbal elements of oral/aural communication. These can include variations of pitch, volume, and intonation, as well as laughter, sobbing, breaks in voice, tremulous voice, gasp, sigh, exhalation, screams".
  • Eric Friginal, ‎Jack Hardy, Corpus-Based Sociolinguistics: A Guide for Students (2013), p. 5: "* paralanguage features—include pitch and volume in speech and non-verbal elements of language such as silence, gasp, laughter in conversations; paralanguage may also include the use of visuals, emoticons, or punctuation marks in writing".
  • Graeme Burton, ‎Richard Dimbleby, More Than Words: An Introduction to Communication (2002), p. 46: Paralanguage: This tells us a lot about how to interpret the meanings of words during a conversation. It describes the non-verbal signs which accompany speech. There are those signs which are separate from the words themselves. They are often about immediate reactions and emotions. We may whistle or gasp in surprise".
  • Cheryl Hamilton, Communicating for Results: A Guide for Business and the Professions (2013), p. 11: "In this instance, to which code would the questioner pay more attention: the slamming of the door (nonverbal), the loud sigh (paralanguage), or the actual words spoken (language)?"
  • David Givens, Crime Signals: How to Spot a Criminal Before You Become a Victim (2009), p. 54: "To sigh, they learned, is human. The audible, nonverbal sigh is a universal form of "paralanguage" — vocalizations without the grammar of language. Studies of paralanguage have found that vocal pauses, hems, haws, gasps, coughs, throat clearings, and sighs carry meaningful information about unsaid, veiled, or hidden feelings".
  • Fernando Poyatos, ed., Advances in Nonverbal Communication: Sociocultural, Clinical, Esthetic and Literary Perspectives (1992), p. 53: "These sounds function as 'auxiliaries' to the basic structure language-paralanguage-kinesics as eloquently as paralinguistic 'alternants' do (e.g., a sigh, a meaningful cough, a groan) and thus can play also the same type of functions performed in discourse by kinesic and paralinguistic 'language markers' (i.e. punctuating words), which confirms once more the mutually inherent nature of sound and movement and how the whole body contributes to a finely structured communicative totality.

Let me know if you find any sources that say that gasps and sighs are not paralanguage. Cheers! bd2412 T 05:09, 6 March 2014 (UTC)