I thought I knew everything about how people communicate with language, however I was proven wrong when l received of paralanguage, or vocalics .
- It’s described as “a component of meta-communication that may modify meaning, give nuanced meaning, or convey emotion, by using techniques such as prosody (patterns of rhythm), pitch, volume, intonation, etc.” One aspect of vocalics is something called “paralinguistic respiration” exemplified by gasps, sighs, moans plus groans, throat-clearing (ahem), plus our favorite a single, “mhm”.
I’ve got our “mhms” down to an art form. I can be on the phone plus doing a crossword puzzle while someone goes on plus on about their concerns. Whenever there is a brief gap in the conversation I simply throw in a timely “mhm” that fills the gap plus allows the speaker to go on. I had our own tale of woe a few weeks ago when our oil furnace stopped working leaving our family wrapped in blankets to stay warm. I used paralanguage at wonderful length when I called our Heating plus A/C worker to schedule a repair. I emitted a sigh of thanks when the dispatcher picked up the phone, but next, I let out a series of moans plus groans, however they were not because I was having a pleasurable experience. Instead, I was excrucial our pain because the Heating plus A/C Tech was booked until the following week. Next, I gasped loudly when I discovered how much the service call would cost myself and others because I did not have an extended Heating plus A/C warranty. The dispatcher had to say some loud “ahems” as our thoughts drifted to the next month when our oil furnace would be back on plus I could let out a sigh of relief. When I believe about it, that Heating plus A/C dispatcher was almost as fine at “mhms” as I am.