Topic: Family, Life & ExperiencesEmotions

Last updated: February 25, 2019

A specific form of non-verbal communication is paralanguage. Paralanguage consists of the non-verbal communication in speech, which may affect the spoken word such as pitch, silence and volume (DeVito 2014). In this event, the waitress was standing at the front desk and saw the customers coming from the door and asked how many of them with a loud yet soft voice. The pitch of voice can show emotion easily. For example, a high pitched voice can show whether happy or anger emotions. After that, the customers sat on the table and it took for a while for them to order some food.

While ordering the foods, the customers asked something and for a moment they stopped talking and then continued asking again. In this case, silence also play a strong role because it can mean people need time to think or to express emotions (Lane, Koetting & Bishop 2002). Paralanguage is the instrument that reveals emotional state. There are many factors in paralanguage, such as pitch, volume, silence, and tempo. All of these components come into play when communicating through paralanguage and it is used in everyday life. The body communicates with actions and gestures showing an area of nonverbal communication referred to as kinesics.

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According to Birdwhistell (2011) the word kinesics comes from the root word kinesis which refers to the study of hand, arm, body, and face movements. Kinesics is the study of body movement, facial expressions, and gestures. Five kinds of kinesics are used in everyday communication. Those five are emblems, illustrators, affect displays, regulators, and adaptors (Ekman & Friesen 1969). However, in this observation, the customers and the waitress actions only shown two kinds of kinesics which are illustrator and emblems. In the observed event, when the waitress asked how many of them, the customers replied with showing two fingers, which mean they were referring that they were only two people. Then, when the customers were asking about how big was the food, the waitress positioned both her hands far apart to illustrate that the portion of the food was big. It means illustrators are used to accompany and reinforce verbal messages and it is more consistently to illustrate what is being said (Beattie 2003).

However, illustrators can also be misinterpreted (Beattie 2003). It can be shown when the customers had finished eating, David was looking the waitress and pointing out two fingers and made a square sign. The waitress thought that David was asking a menu. Therefore, the waitress gave David the menu but, it turned out that what David wanted was the bill. Emblems are body movements that substitute for words and phrases and also an emblem is a pattern that is used to represent an idea or an individual as a non-verbal communication (Beattie 2003).

Both the customers and the customers used emblems are when the waitress asked if the food was delicious while showing a thumb up which means good and the customers were also doing the same by showing their thumbs up. However, be wary of emblems because it can mean something different in a different culture (DeVito 2014). In much of the world today, the thumbs up could mean OK, Nice, or Good but, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and parts of Italy and Greece it is an obscene insult especially, when combined with a sweep of the arms.

Therefore, illustrators are uses to illustrate the verbal message which they accompany and emblems refer to a specific agreed-on meaning, which are consciously used and understood.


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