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    #1

    The literary term for non-word sounds?

    I have in mind here a cough, a tsk, a grunt, a snort and so on, all used to communicate something but only quasi-words at most.

    I seem to remember there is a term for these, but I cannot recall it.

    Thanks.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    Hi and welcome to Using English.

    Do you mean "onomatopoeia"?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    I don’t think he means onomatopoeia, Barb.

    Some of the “words” you are talking about are interjections, although many interjections are “real” words.

    I am interested to know if there is a better term for this group of vocalisations.

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    #4

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    How about vocal segregates? And paralanguage is used for the general area.

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    #5

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    You could try "ejaculation".
    ejaculation [ɪˌdʒækjʊˈleɪʃən]
    n 1. an abrupt emphatic utterance or exclamation
    ejaculation - definition of ejaculation by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

    When babies do it, technically it's called babbling. Adults can also babble.
    babbling - definition of babbling by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    Gurgling is an informal term for babies.

    "Vocalising" can include words and non-words.
    Non-word vocal production ...

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    #6

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    I think there's also "paraverbals" -- things that are, uh, like words but, umm, not.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    There's also Phatic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, but that's not non-verbal.

    b


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    #8

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    Hi everybody,

    There is also the linguistic term: backchannels. It refers to both verbal and non-verbal responses to indicate interest, such as uh huh, hmm, tsk, oh really.

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    #9

    Re: The literary term for non-word sounds?

    Quote Originally Posted by maplecountry View Post
    Hi everybody,

    There is also the linguistic term: backchannels. It refers to both verbal and non-verbal responses to indicate interest, such as uh huh, hmm, tsk, oh really.
    Welcome to the forum.

    And thanks for that information.

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