Use of Paralanguage and Kinesics in Everyday LifeThe use of kinesics and paralanguage in everyday life is the mostprominent use of persuasion we use subconsciously. They are used subconsciouslybecause you may not know what they mean. Which can cause cultural tension ifyou do something that may seem harmless to you but may be a great insult toanother culture. Paralanguage has many forms such as whistling which can beused by many people as a means of entertaining by whistling a song or even inAmerican culture used to hound women on the streets because they appear to beattractive. These two uses of persuasion I will discuss about in my paper.
Iwill discuss the history of both and also how they are used today in everydaylife. To start of with I will define kinesics. Kinesics is articulation ofthe body, or movement resulting from muscular and skeletal shift. This includesall actions, physical or physiological, automatic reflexes, posture, facialexpressions, gestures, and other body movements. Body language, body idiom,gesture language, organ language and kinesic acts are just some terms used todepict kinesics.
In ways that body language works in nonverbal acts, bodylanguage parallels paralanguage. Kinesic acts may substitute for language,accompany it, or modify it. Kinesic acts may be lexical or informative anddirective in nature, or they may be emotive or empathic movements. Posture isone of the components of kinesics. Posture is broken down into three basicpositions: bent knees, lying down, and standing. Artists and mimes have alwaysbeen aware of the range of communication possible through body stance.
Butthere are some cultural differences in posture positions. Most people use thebent knee position to eat, but while the Romans used to eat lying down. PrincePeter of Greece and Denmark described the sleeping posture of the Tibetansbefore World War II. He said that the local men slept outside at night huddledaround the fire, hunched over on their knees with their faces resting in theirpalms. In 1932, William James did a study of expression of bodily posture. Herecognized the relationship of facial expression, gesture, and posture.
Hedeclared that studying each one independently was justified for the purpose ofanalysis, but they should be recognized as a whole unit that function as anexpression. He devised four basic kinds from 347 different postures in hisexperiment. The four basic kinds are: approach, withdrawal, expansion, andcontraction. Approach referred to such things as attention, interest, scrutiny,and curiosity. Withdrawal involved drawing back or turning away, refusal,repulsion, and disgust.
Expansion referred to the expanded chest, erect trunkand head, and raised shoulders, which conveyed pride, conceit, arrogance,disdain, mastery, and self-esteem. Contraction was characterized by forwardtrunk, bowed head, drooping shoulders, and sunken chest. Studies haveidentified postural behavior with personality types and ways of life, forexample relaxation, assertiveness, and restraint; and have noted the correlationof certain kinds of movement in sleeping and waking acts. Posture is asubstantial marker of feminine and masculine behavior. The relationship ofposture to sex gestures is obvious in the stereotypes in U.
S. advertising. Posture is an indicator of status and rank and is also a marker of etiquette. In a study of Roman sculpture and coinage, Brilliant demonstrates that postureidentifies the noble and the peasant. In Western culture one was taught tostand when an elderly person enters the room.
The face seems to be the most obvious component of body language, but itis certainly the most confusing and difficult to understand. Modern studies offacial expressions dates back to the nineteenth century, starting with CharlesBell, who in 1806, published Essays on the Anatomy and Philosophy of Expression:As Connected with the Fine Arts. Charles Darwin’s, The Expressions of Emotionsin Man and Animals, in 1872, was apparently influenced by Bell’s earlier work. Facial expressions are like sentences in human language, they are infinite invariety. The relationship of facial expression to other components of bodylanguage and to language itself, is sparsely examined and such observations ashave been made are recent. It does not take very extensive scientific study toobserve that a smiling face makes a sentence sound different from a sentencearticulated by a sorrowful, droopy physiognomy.
There are five basic physicaldescriptions of facial expressions: neutral, relaxed, tense, uplifted, anddroopy. The neutral could result in various expressions such as pleasure, mask,respect, thoughtful, and quiet attention. The relaxed could result in love,pleasure and submission. The tense results in fear, surprise, determination,contempt, and extreme interest. The uplifted could result in happiness, anxiety,rage, religious love, astonishment, attention.
Finally the droopy, in distress,suffering, grief, dismay, and shock. Facial expression may portray the actualemotion felt and accurately accompany the speech. On the other hand, facialexpression, as with other body language and nonverbal components, maycontradict the verbal expression, thus giving the real message. One’s facialexpression may be practiced and may thus be made convincingly to lie, along withthe speech act, about one’s real feelings. Artists and clowns have effectivelyexploited facial expressions and gestures as social weapons and entertainment. The eyes and mouth, it is generally agreed, carry the heaviest load ofcommunicative and expressive manifestations.
When the eyes of two persons meetthere is a special kind of communication. This special kind of communication isnot always desirable. In some cultures the Evil Eye , the direct stare, is oneof the worst possible social and/or supernatural offenses. The term eye contactis used to identify this special relationship. Eye contact is one of theclosest possible relationships. It can be used as a “regulator” inconversations in an informal kind of way, and it can be used in a more precisesignal, for example, between the chairman of a meeting and a member who isasking for the floor.
At the end of a social evening, couples may signal “Let’sgo!” only by eye contact. Deaf persons are insistent on eye contact interactions; they depend heavily on kinesic movement to supplement the”conversation. ” The avoidance of eye contact also signals something meaningful. Looking away contributes to maintaining psychological distance.
Other eyebehaviors are symptoms of abnormalities in human beings, such as excessiveblinking, depressed look, dramatic gaze, guarded gaze, and absent gaze. Theblink frequency can be a measure of tension, or even of sobriety as someresearchers have concluded. The mouth is a remarkable communicator, both on the obvious and subtlelevels. In fact, most mouth movement is not associated with sound at all. Ifthe eyes are the “windows of the soul,” certainly the mouth is the very door.
The grimace, in contrast to the movement made by a tic, is voluntary and withinthe control of the person who does it. Pouting is a well-known kinesic act ofchildren. Sticking out the tongue among the children of Western cultures is awidely-known expression of insult. Protruding the tongue, however, has othermeanings. It is a component of a negative response among the aborigines inQueensland and Gipp’s land where a negative is expressed by throwing the head ofa little backwards and putting out the tongue.
Tongue movements may take placenaturally when one is thinking deeply or preoccupied with writing or silentreading – such behavior when one is alone is known as “autistic behavior. ” Jawmovement also occurs in moments of concentration, and in addition when theperson is carrying on some activity with an opening and closing motion. Thehands, of course, are of paramount interest here with a seemly endless array ofpossibilities which different cultures utilize in various ways. In somecultures specific hand gestures number in the hundreds. Movement of the headconveys various meanings depending upon the tilt, uprightness, thrust from thebody, and side movement.
Paralanguage is some kind of articulation of the vocal apparatus, orsignificant lack of it, for example, hesitation between segments of vocalarticulation. This includes all noises and sounds which are extra-speech sounds,such as hissing, shushing, whistling, and imitation sounds, as well as a largevariety of speech modifications, such as quality of voice (sepulchral, whiny,giggling), extra high-pitched utterances, or hesitations and speed in talking. People from all different walks of life recognize that the human voicecommunicates something beyond language. These effects are referred to byimpressionistic descriptions such as “tone of voice,” “voice quality,” “mannerof speaking,” or “the way he said it. ” There are modifying features which canoccur independently, such as crying and laughing, groaning, and whining.
Theseare “vocal characterizes” which one “talks through” when they accompany language. The sounds used in language are referred to as segmental sounds or phonemes. They are produced by the articulatory organs of speech and each has a particulararticulatory phonetic description. Fricative sounds occur frequently inparalanguage, perhaps because of the air expired air movement is of muchimportance in paralinguistic. A surprising amount of paralanguage makes use ofsounds which might be considered more dramatic and exotic than the languagesounds. These sounds are trills and clicks and sounds modified in exotic ways,which without the modification might be considered ordinary.
Trills are a kindof iterative articulation; that is, repetitions of a flap articulation by themovable parts of the speech mechanism. Any part of the speech apparatus whichcan move may be involved in a trill, whether it be the lips, tongue, cheek,uvula, velic, or vocal cords. The click sounds are made by causing a suction of air in the mouthcavity. These percussive-like sounds are well documented as speech sounds inseveral languages, but, like the kiwi bird in New Zealand, they occur in onlyone geographical area of the world.
The type of modification when the lips areinvolved, or puckered, is called labialization, and in speech sounds is used inFrench, German, Scandinavian, and many other languages. In English this type ofrounded lip modification is known as “baby talk. ” Palatalization is a kind ofmodification made by the blade of the tongue in contact with the palate. Itoccurs very commonly in Slavic languages. Nasalization is a kind ofmodification which permits air to escape through the nose while pronouncing anoral sound. Nasalized vowels occur in the language structure of French, but inEnglish occur only in paralanguage.
Nasalization also occurs in strong emotionsof love and hatred due to the swelling and shrinking of the nasal membranes inthese circumstances. Pharyngealization is another modification and is producedin the back of the throat. It results from opening up the area of the pharynxby tongue movement. This occurrence is noted in the Arabic language. Muscleconstriction is a tightening of the vocal apparatus which produces sounds knownas “fortis” in language systems, in contrast to sounds made in relaxed manner,which are known as “lenis.
” Constriction of the vocal cords is said to occur ina special kind of speech among the Amahuacas of Peru. There are extra-speech sounds used for communication which are treatedhere, never occur, as far as has been recorded, in any language system of theworld. This group, non-language sounds, includes such “noises” as the whistle,the kiss, the yell, the groan, clapping of the tongue, various percussivesounding noises made with mouth air articulated by the lips and tongue, but notto be confused with mouth clicks, and a variety of imitative noises, such as thebilabial “pop” when the champagne cork is released. Whistling as acommunication device is world-wide, from spontaneous, expressive whistling forjoy, or “whistling in the dark,” to simple signals across distances, such asamong mountain climbers in the Alps who call for help by whistling. The kiss isa bilabial voiceless click which is articulated in the manner of the otherclicks actually used in languages which were described previously under specificlanguage sounds. Kempelen classified kisses into three types, according totheir sounds: the kiss proper, a clear-ringing kiss, coming from the heart; theweaker kiss, from an acoustic point of view; and a loathsome smack.
The kiss isused in greetings and in affectionate display, but also has other functions withcommunicative value. The yell, and variations of it as expressed by the scream,shout, roar, howl, bellow, squeal, holler, shriek, or screech, are effectivenon-speech communications, difficult to describe technically, and almostimpossible to duplicate the effect of in other kinds of communication media. The Confederate Yell, during the Civil War, was a ulant yell that was the signalfor the Confederate troops to charge at the enemies. The use of paralanguage in today’s society is very prominent. We useparalanguage with children when we tell them to be quiet by saying “shush.
” Ifwe see something disgusting we can make a gagging sound which shows disapproval. We also use kinesics today a lot too. We use the “O. K.
” sign to signal thateverything is fine. We even have body language for vulgar words that manypeople today seem to use a lot. The study of these two topics can help a lot inunderstanding what people are really saying in today’s society. Without theunderstanding of kinesics or paralanguage we would not be able to help bridgethe gap between certain cultures or even each other. We need these two non–verbal communication techniques to survive.