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Book: Phonology in Systemic Functional Linguistics

Chapter: Beyond Intonation: Paralinguistic Features

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38993


Paralinguistic features involve characteristics of the message that result from choices speakers can make with their voices which do not belong in the intonation systems already described. On certain occasions, speakers’ voices can differ with respect to volume, or tempo, or precision in articulation, or voice quality, among others. These features are always observed and analysed in context, always in comparison to preceding or succeeding parts of the message. They tend to co-occur with intonation features and contribute in the building of interpersonal meanings in particular. In SFL phonological descriptions of language, Tench (1996) mentions the ‘paralinguistic dimension’ of intonation in his introduction, and refers to the fact that these features make meanings in relation to the ‘messenger’, but he does not develop this dimension any further. Other approaches, like interactional linguistics, show these features in combination and demonstrate their contribution to the meanings expressed in oral discourse.

Chapter Contributors

  • Lucía Inés Rivas ( - lrivas) 'National University of La Pampa, Argentina'