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More Than Words: Communicating with Paralanguage

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clapping is a way of communicating through paralanguage

Most of the time, there's more to what we say than the words we use. English language expert Patricia O'Conner says that the tone, volume and pitch of our voice, as well as our body language, plays a huge role in how we communicate. Those aspects of conversation are called paralanguage. 

"The para in paralinguistics  is taken from a Greek word. It means parallel or equal to but outside of language," she explains.  "The message is right there under the surface."

During this hour, host Charity Nebbe talks with O'Conner about how paralanguage, which became a field of study in the 1950's, plays a role in communication. O'Conner also answers listener questions. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa