Paralinguale Phänomene (Paralinguistic phenomena)  

Traunmüller, H.

In SOCIOLINGUISTICS An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society / SOZIOLINGUISTIK Ein internationales Handbuch zur Wissenschaft von Sprache und Gesellschaft 2nd ed. (2005), edited by U. Ammon, N. Dittmar, K. Mattheier and P. Trudgill, Vol. 1, pp 653-665. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.


Paralinguistic phenomena are those phenomena that can be observed in speech (Saussure's 'parole') but that do not belong to the arbitrary conventional code of language (Saussure's 'langue'). The paralinguistic features of speech play, nevertheless, an important role in speech communication, and there are no speech signals without such features. However, the distinction linguistic vs. paralinguistic applies not only to speech but to gestural language as well, and it is not bound to any sensory modality. The chapter distinguishes between (1) perspectival, (2) organic, (3) expressive and (4) linguistic aspects. Under (1), spatial hearing, distance perception, spectral distortion, and helium speech is mentioned. Under (2), sex differences (also in energy balance and in liveliness) and the articulatory and acoustic effects (on F0, formant frequencies etc.) of the ontological development of the organ of speech are considered as well as the perception of speakers' age and sex. The phylogeny of the sex-differences is also considered. Under (3), it is considered how a speaker's emotions and attitudes affect the properties of speech signals and how they are recognized by listeners. This includes an account for the "Frequency Code" (Ohala, 1984) and for the acoustic effects of variations in vocal effort. The following topics are also mentioned: Personality inference from voice quality; Baby-talk; semantically empty linguistic vehicles of expressive information; cases in which both a linguistic contrast and a paralinguistic continuum is involved. Under (4), the problem of how listeners extract the linguistic-phonetic information from speech signals is considered, and the normalization, search for invariance and modulation/demodulation approaches are mentioned. The paralinguistic origin of many prosodic features of languages is mentioned as well as onomatopoeia and sound symbolism and its basis in associations. Two tables (F0 mean and SD data of male and female speakers in various languages and types of discourse; voice correlates of emotions and attitudes); 129 References.

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