Paralanguage refers to the nonword aspects of speech such as pitch, tone of voice, tempo, volume, and filler sounds such as “ummm… ” and “un huh.” Paralanguage also includes nonverbal communication such as gestures and facial expressions that relate emotion and hidden meanings. For example, if your friend says “What?!” in response to hearing news he may be expressing surprise or shock. But depending on his tone of voice, facial expression, and how long he draws out the word “what,” he may also be expressing humor or anger.

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