Sunday, August 12, 2012

Para Language

Para Language
Para‟ means „like‟. Para language means „like language‟. It is non-verbal communication which is closely related to verbal communication. It is non verbal communication because it does not comprise words.
It is „like‟ verbal communications because it is related to way the words are spoken. Without it words do not convey their intended meaning. While verbal communication consists of „what‟ or the contents of words, paralanguage involves the „how‟ of a speaker’s voice or the ways in which the speaker speaks. Example of paralanguage is voice, words stress etc.

Elements of Para Language:
1. Voice: Voice is the most important element of Para language. Voice tells us about the speaker’s sex, age, background, education; temperament etc. voice conveys the message in a more effective way. However these points have to be considered.
i. Pitch variation: Pitch means highness or lowness of sound i.e. quality of sound. Wide variation in pitch should be made during a speech. This is essential and helps in catching the attention of the listener and maintaining the interest in the speech.
ii. Speaking speed: The speaking speed should neither be too fast nor too slow. The speed should be such which ensures fluency. As a rule the easy parts of the messages should be delivered at a brisk pace as it is likely to be understood easily. On the other hand, the difficult complicated, technical part of the message should be delivered at a slower rate.
iii. Pause: Pause is an important aspect of speech. One cannot and should not go on speaking without pause. But pause have to be at the right moment. A pause at the right moment can be very helpful in emphasizing the upcoming subject. Where as an arbitrary pause or unnecessary frequent pauses spoils the speech.
iv. Variation in volume: an efficient speaker varies his volume while delivering his speech. Volume means loudness of voice. Volume variation puts life into one’s speech. However the loudness of voice should be adjusted according to the size of the audience. While speaking one should be loud enough to be audible but not too loud to put the audience off.
v. Non fluencies: speech is not always a continuous string of meaningful words. There are pauses scattered at intervals. These pause are very often inserted with sounds or utterances like „ah‟, „oh‟, „uh‟, „hum‟, „you know‟, ok etc. These sound or utterances are called „Non fluencies‟. These non fluencies if used carefully and sparingly add to the fluency of the speaker, gives him time to breathe or relax and makes the listener more alert and gets the message conveyed overtly or covertly.

2. Proper word stress: Proper word stress is at most important in communication. A speaker can change the meaning by putting stress on a word here or a word there in the same sentence.
A good speaker should put stress on words or parts of words. One should also improve one’s word stress by listening the good speakers and participating in discussion.

a)      No oral communication is complete without para language.
b)      A speaker education and background can be judged from his way of speaking
c)       Para language of a person indicates his place in hierarchical structure of the organization.
d)      Knowledge of person’s para language is helpful in dealing with him.
e)      One can improve his para language by listening to good speakers.

a)      Para language is like a language nut not a language we cannot rely on it.
b)      Unless the listener is open minded, voice quality, speaking speed, pitch, etc may prejudice him, causing poor listening. Voice quality and speaking speed etc cannot be a substitute for intellect or wisdom. They can only complement it.
c)       Speaker belongs to different speech communities due to which it is difficult to maintain uniformity in para language.
d)      It is difficult to blend what is said and how it is said. Therefore, extra care is required to get to the exact content of the language.