Vocal qualities refer to those characteristics present in a spoken message after verbal and contextual information have been removed. Generally the voice is considered a primary carrier of affective signals, and vocal qualities can be used to enhance, modify, or contradict the meaning being conveyed by a speaker. The analysis of the voice is referred to by many names, including vocalics, paralanguage, and prosody. Vocalic communication is one of the earliest used nonverbal channels of communication; infants pick up on vocal quality differences long before they begin to recognize language. This entry outlines the different qualities of the voice that can be observed and the methods by which vocal qualities can be observed. The challenges associated with observation of vocal qualities in communication ...
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