Paralinguistic features (from Greek para: beside or beyond) are the vocal effects we can employ when we speak. These do not have the importance of prosodic features, which can change the meaning of an utterance.
Paralinguistic features are commonly referred to as "tone of voice". We can make our speech breathy or nasal or husky or creaky to create desired effects. Some people use very obvious lip-rounding when they talk to babies or small animals: "Coochy coochy coo." Spoken advertisements for certain products are often delivered in a low breathy voice, presumably to make them more alluring.
Whispering is one of the best examples of paralanguage; giggling and laughing also come into this category.
Published on: 07 May 2009