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Film Catalog » Subject Areas » Communication » Language/Linguistics » The Human Voice: Exploring Vocal Paralanguage

The Human Voice: Exploring Vocal Paralanguage

The Human Voice: Exploring Vocal Paralanguage - Image Produced by Dane Archer.
30 min. Color. 1993.
Available as: VHS and DVD
Captioned: Yes
Catalog #: 0004
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Sale Price: $295.00 Buy VHS Buy DVD

The voice is an extraordinary human instrument. Every time we speak, our voice reveals our gender, age, geographic background, level of education, native birth, emotional state, and our relationship with the person spoken to. All these clues (and many more) are contained in even small fragments of speech, and other people can "read" our voices with remarkable accuracy. When we speak, we "encode" important information about ourselves; when we listen to others, we "decode" important information about them.

This remarkable video explores the power and importance of "vocal paralanguage." Spoken language contains two distinct types of communication. Text (the words themselves) is whatever can be typed on a page. Vocal paralanguage is everything else -- the thousands of ways in which any given words can be said.

"The Human Voice" examines twelve different types of "clues" that are contained in vocal paralanguage. These include clues to our biography and background, our identity and uniqueness, our use of standard or nonstandard speech, our regional and national accents, our emotions and true feelings, our voices when we speak to children, our ability to perform and recognize sarcasm, our efforts to tell if others are telling the truth, and our response to dialects and other variations in vocal paralanguage.

"The Human Voice" was produced by Prof. Dane Archer, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz.


Dane Archer has done it again! What he did for the study of gestures with his video, "A World of Gestures," he has now done for tone of voice. It's a wonderful job! -- Robert Rosenthal, Edgar Pierce Prof. of Psychology, Harvard University

"I am simply delighted. This is an exciting and comprehensive video, and its style is highly interactive and very engaging. Like "A World of Gestures," this video is highly entertaining, involving, and witty: an excellent tool for promoting class discussion. Students will love this video! Dane Archer has created another hit and instant classic: This is the Gold Standard for videos on nonverbal communication!" -- Robin M. Akert, Prof. of Psychology, Wellesley College


  • Western Psychological Assn. Award of Merit
  • American Psychological Assn. honoree

Additional Material

For additional information, visit http://nonverbal.ucsc.edu



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