Paraverbal, non-verbal and the assessment of speech capacity of high school student

Abstract. Paraverbal, non-verbal factors play an important role in communicating in spoken language. When speakers and listeners speak directly to each other, in addition to using linguistic elements, they also need to include paraverbal, non-verbal elements. Currently, Literature bears an significant responsibility for developing linguistic ability and communication skills of students. Hence, it is essential to implement researches on paraverbal and nonverbal factors and the assessment on students’ speaking ability. This article is to analyze the theoretical background of paraverbal and nonverbal and the relationship between these factors and the assessment on students’ speaking ability.

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HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2017-0132 Educational Sci., 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 6, pp. 82-90 This paper is available online at PARAVERBAL, NON-VERBAL AND THE ASSESSMENT OF SPEECH CAPACITY OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT Phan Thi Hong Xuan Faculty of Philology, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. Paraverbal, non-verbal factors play an important role in communicating in spoken language. When speakers and listeners speak directly to each other, in addition to using linguistic elements, they also need to include paraverbal, non-verbal elements. Currently, Literature bears an significant responsibility for developing linguistic ability and communication skills of students. Hence, it is essential to implement researches on paraverbal and nonverbal factors and the assessment on students’ speaking ability. This article is to analyze the theoretical background of paraverbal and nonverbal and the relationship between these factors and the assessment on students’ speaking ability. Keywords: Paraverbal factor, Non-verbal factor, Assessment. 1. Introduction Paraverbal and non-verbal factors play an important role in the conversation between the speaker and the listener. When the speaker and the listener discuss, paraverbal and non-verbal factors are also used besides language factors. Albert Mehrabian, the pioneer in studying about body language found out that in a message, the sense of verbal factors is just a mere 7% and that of sound factors is 38% while non-verbal factors takes 55%. There are a significant number of researches about paraverbal and non-verbal factors. In 1993, Dinh Trong Lac and Nguyen Thai Hoa analysized the intonation, facial expression, behaviors of the speaker while discussing about the two types of communication- speaking and writing in “Stylistics of Vietnamese”. Contemporarily, Do Huu Chau and Bui Minh Toan debated about the paraverbal factors in “General Ideas about Linguistics”. This textbook is primarily about analyzing the visual factors such as appearance, outfit, behaviors, facial expression, and posture. In 1996, in Vol 2 of “The principles of Language”. Ho Le discussed about the intonation, behaviors and tone-colour. He regards them as essential factors in the style of communication. In 2001, in Vol 2 of the “General Ideas of Linguistics”, Do Huu Chau reported the notion and features of paraverbal and non-verbal factors. A year after, Nguyen Duc Dan in “The troubles of thi, la, ma” [10] reported about the factors that affect the language such as culture, ethnic features, social position, occupation, age, personality and the relationship between the speaker and the listener. Besides the textbooks and researches mentioned above, there are a lot of articles in professional magazines that is about the paraverbal and non-verbal factors in conversational language [11- 20]. Those articles are about analyzing the paraverbal and non-verbal factors in many aspects: roles, functions, substances, meanings and cultural features. However, there is no Received date: 25/3/2017. Published date: 10/5/2017. Contact: Phan Thi Hong Xuan, e-mail: phanhongxuan@gmail.com. 82 Paraverbal, non-verbal and the assessment of speech capacity... article about the relation among paraverbal, non-verbal factors and the assessment of speech ability of high school student. In “The perfect book for body language” [1], Allan and Barbara Pease discussed about the explanation of body language and the importance of that explanation to the daily deportment. Those articles above and particular experiences show that a person who has the ability of communicating can compatibly use both the linguistic factors and paraverbal and non-verbal factors. In high school education, the language curriculum just focus on the linguistic factors but the paraverbal and non-verbal factors. Recently, the Ministry of Education is making the first draft of the new curriculum based on the capacity of student. Therefore, the target of Literature is developing the communicating and using language of students. As a result, studying about the paraverbal and non-verbal factors is necessary. This article is also for that necessary target. 2. Content 2.1. The paraverbal and non-verbal factors in conversational language a. Paraverbal factors: According to researcher Do Huu Chau: “Paraverbal factors are not segmental but usually go with the segmental features. There is no segmental feature that is spoken without the paraverbal features. The paraverbal factors include those factors such as intonation, stressed sound, pitch” [2, tr.220]. Researcher Nguyen Thien Giap also added the speed and the time between each turns. Paraverbal factors are important because they help the speaker reveal their attitudes, sentiments toward the topic and the listener. They also help the speaker define the important information among sentences and thus emphasizing the important information. The paraverbal factors also help the listener realize the important information in the conversation and then understanding quickly and exactly. b. Non-verbal factors: According to researcher Do Huu Chau: “Non-verbal factors are not the paraverbal factors that are used in face to face conversation. The non-verbal factors include: gesture, proxemics, body contact, posture and body orientation, facial expression, gaze” [2, tr.220]. Besides, the author also added aural factors such as the sound effects of tables, chairs or whistling. The non-verbal factors play an important role in explaining the meaning of the conversation. Sometimes, they are the non-verbal factors which help us understand each other exactly and define the relationship between the speaker and the reader as well as find the most suitable way to speak. Arber Crombie wrote: “We talk by the organ of speech but we communicate by our whole bodies. The paralinguistic factors simultaneously appear with the conversational language and construct a complete communication system. Studying about the paraverbal factors is a part of studying about conversation, to put in another way, we cannot understand the use of language completely unless we understand the paraverbal factors” [2, tr.223]. Those ideas demonstrate that studying about the paraverbal factors and nonverbal factors to assess the ability of speech is important. 2.2. The relation between paraverbal, non-verbal factors and the assessment of speech of student In the Literature curriculum of high school education, there are 5 tenors that directly relate to the development of the speaking ability of student. To study about the paraverbal and non-verbal factors in teaching and assessing those tenors, we research the recent curriculum and textbook of grade 10, 11, and 12. 83 Phan Thi Hong Xuan The result of the Survey about the Literature Curriculum of High school education shows that there is no tenor that directly relate to the paraverbal and non-verbal factors. Here is the result of the survey: No Name of the passages The paraverbal and non-verbal factors Page 1 The features of writing language (Literature 10 Textbook vol 1) Speaking languages have a wide range of intonation: high or low, fast or slow, strong or weak, fluent or interrupted. Intonation is an important factor that reveals more information. Similarly important is that speaking language is a combination of sound, intonation and other assistant means such as facial expression, eye contact, behavior of the speaker. 86 The features of writing language (Literature 10 Textbook vol 1) Likewise, the speaker can not only use his/her prepared ideas (document) but also the behavior, facial expression which are suitable to the listener. 108 2 Present a topic (Literature 10 Textbook vol 1) - How to appear in front the audience? Should we go straight forward to the topic? - How to greed and introduce ourselves (if necessary) - How is the reaction of the listener? How should we change our topic or our style? - To effectively present the topic, we should guarantee the requirement about content, sound, behaviors. 149 150 Present a topic (Literature 10 Textbook Vol 1) The teacher give comment about the voice, behavior and gesture of student. 191 3 Answer an interview (Literature 11 Textbook Vol 1) - During the interview, besides the modest and amiable attitude, what attitudes should the interviewer has? - Should we note also the expression and the behavior of the interviewer or just his/her speech. Why? - While being asked about the Dien Bien Phu campaign? President Ho Chi Minh said: “Here is Dien Bien Phu - He said and flipped over the hat on the table nói – here is the mountains - He used his fingers to circle the brim of the hat – We are here and beneath is – His finger touched the bottom of the hat - the Dien Bien Phu Valley. The French is here. They could not escape. They probably stuck here for a long time but defintely could not escape”. 181 182 4 State a topic (Literature 12 Textbook Vol 1) - While stating, we should use suitable and convicing attitude, behavior and tonet. - Have accordant and gentle attitude and change our tone to fit the topic. 115 116 84 Paraverbal, non-verbal and the assessment of speech capacity... State a topic (Literature 12 Textbook Vol 1) Is the speech suitable to the speaking language? How is the speaking language combine with other non-linguistic means? 110 5 State spontaneously (Literatue 12 Textbook Vol 2) - Remember to observe the attitude of the listener to fix our expression - Reveal our excitement through behavior and eye contact - Create a close and comfortable atmosphere. 164 State spontaneously (Literatue 12 Textbook Vol 2) The intruction and some remark. 150 Through the result of that survey, we can conclude that the paraverbal and non-verbal factors are just mentioned at the level of basic notion such as voice, sound, eye contact, behavior, attitude, posture and non-linguistic means. However, the expression of those factors are not mentioned. Espescially, those documents is not about the paraverbal and non-verbal factors in assessing the capacity of student. Therefore, the teachers do not have the scientific standard to actively assess those factors. To do that, we need to analyze those factors into direct expressions. However, it is not that simple because the scientists and educationalists do not regard paraverbal and non-verbal factors as important as they should be. We divide those factors into elements to analysize but we just choose some suitable elements for assessing the capacity of student. a. There is some elements of paraverbal factors that could be assessed: - Intonation: “The sound of the sentence spoken by the speaker. It is strong or weak, fast or slow, high or low” [4, tr.36]. Student need to use intonation that is suitable with the content, avoid unchangeable tone or unsuitable tone. - Intensity: The feature of hearing that can classify a sound into light or heavy. The features of intensity is the strength of the voice, such as whispering or screaming, light or heavy. Students need to have suitable voice, not too light or heavy. Both of those features are not suitable with the listener. - Pitch (pitch): The feature of hearing that can classify a sound in the measurement from low to high. It is a feature of phonics, that is similar to the features of phonic frequency, which is based on the motion period of the voice. Avoid too high or too low tone that could depress the listener. - Length: The term that is used in Phonics to mention the physical length of a sound or a speech. To put in another way, it is the long or short time in which a sound is spoken. A sound which is too short or too long can be unsuitable and depressing both the speaker and the listener. - Speed: The fastness or lowness of a speech. The features of speed is “interrupted” or “fluent”, “depressed” or “passionated”, “slow” or “fast”. Students should not speak too slowly or too fast. Fast speaking means that you are lack of confidence and the listener could not acquire the information from the speech while slow speaking could depress the listener, espescially when the time is limited. - Break offs: Students need to make a suitable break between words. The student who is lack of capacity may make an unsuitable break between two words which may lead to the misunderstanding of the listener. 85 Phan Thi Hong Xuan b. Non-verbal features - Behavior: This feature is independent while speaking. Its examples are smiling, mowing, smirking, shooking his/her head or the movements of the hands. In a conversation, the capable speaker will know how to manage his/her behavior. The positive behaviors such as smiling, nodding, straight back will affect the listener positively. However, the most important is when his/her uses those behaviors. For example, he/she should keep his/her head down when apologizing. - Eye contact: According to many specialists of linguistics, eye contact is the basic non-verbal communication. The frequency of eye motions will increase because of the excitement. People will avoid eye contact when they are depressed. The size of pupil will increase significantly because of excitement. However, it will decrease when people are angry or in negative feelings. When a person are telling lies, his/her eyes will winking. People who are good at communicating will know how to keep the eye contact with their audiences. All of the knowlegde above is the foundation to assess the capacity of speech of student. - Facial expression: It is a feature that could obviously reveal the feelings of the speaker. According to some specialists, the negative feelings will lead to the tightening of some muscles such as tightening jaw-bone, wrinkling the forehead, squinting or pursing the lips. The positive feelings will lead to the relaxing of forehead wrinkles and the oral muscles as well as the increasing of the size of pupils. The speaker need to have the facial expression that is suitable to his/her position, the content and the context. The facial expression need to be emotional because it reveal the speaker’s attitude toward the topic and the listener. People who have the capacity of speech will control their facial expression depend on their position and the context. Therefore, facial expression is a feature to assess the capacity of speech. - Posture: It includes all the body motions such as unbridling the shoulders, extending the legs, crossing the arms, stooping. According to many researchers, the posture will show the level of attention as well as the relation between people. The relaxing of the body show the friendly attitude of the speaker toward his/her audience. While he/she is relaxed, the head will turn over one site. This is the most relaxing posture. The backward or forward posture also reveal the positive feelings when communicating. The posture also contributes to the success of communicating so it need assessing while assessing the capacity of speech. - Distance: According to Allan and Barbara Pease, there is a distance in communication in British, Australian, American, New Zealand, Canadian and Singapore society. The closed distance (from 15 to 45cm) is suitable for the relations between lovers, parents, mates, childrens or relatives. The private distance (from 46 to 122cm) is the distance in meeting, social communication or closed party. The social distance (from 122 to 360cm) is suitable for strangers such as the mail man, the local shop keeper or the accquaintances. The public distance (more than 360cm) is the distance when presenting in front many people. All of the figures above should be considered while assessing the ability to manage the distance of student in communication. - Costume: Costume is one of the most popular forms of non-linguistic communication. It reveals not only the sex, but also the age, nation, social position, power, religion and the ideology of the speaker. The costume also reveals the culture, feeling, level of confidence, hobby, personality and attitude of the speaker. While assessing, we need to consider the relevancy of the costume. The positive costume is polite and neat. By constrast, the messy and sleazy costume show the lack of respect toward the audience. This will create an uneffective communication. - Context: Includes all the contextual features such as the location - in the living room or on the street, in the class or in the garden – and the sound effects such as the knock or the music. The capable speaker will know how to arrange a suitable context. For example: Tell a story in the 86 Paraverbal, non-verbal and the assessment of speech capacity... light music, advertise a product in the exciting music to attract the audience or present a topic in the suitable combination of music, pictures and other advanced technology. This is the foundation to assess the capacity of speech. To assess the paraverbal and non-verbal features, the curriculum need to include a content about assessing in each lessons that are related to the development of capacity of speech. This content needs to define clearly all the standards. We will mention some standards to assess the capacity of presentation below as an example. Preparation (1 point) 1 Choose the attractive and practical topic. Abundant resouces. The script is good to define the audience. 0,8 Choose the attractive and practical topic. Enough resources. The script is good to define the audience. 0,6 Choose the attractive topic, Enough resources. The script needs experiorating. Unable to define the audience. 0,4 The topic is spontaneous, lack of resources, unbale to define the audience. 0,2 Are not able to choose the topic. No preparation for the resources and script. Unable to define the audience. Content (2,5point) 2,5 Abundant source of information. All the information is focused on determining the topic. 2 Abundant source of information. Almost all of the information is related to the topic. 1,5 Enough information. There are some information that is unrelated to the topic 1 Informative but still lack of information. There are some information that is unrelated to the topic. 0,5 Lack of information. Unable to assess. Fluency (1point) 1 Speak fluently. No interruption. Good interaction with the audience. 0,8 Speak fluently. Some interruption. Good interaction with the audience. 0,6 Speak not fluently. The interaction is acceptable. 0,4 Speak interruptedly. Lack of interaction with the audience. 0,2 The speech is limited in single words. No fluency. No interaction with the audience. Pronunciation (0,5point) 0,5 No mistake of pronunciation. 0,4 Have some pronunuciation mistake. 0,3 There are some pronunciation mistake that lead to misunderstanding. 0,2 There are many pronunciation mistake that lead to misunderstanding. 0,1 There are too much pronunciation mistake. Unable to understand. 87 Phan Thi Hong Xuan Vocabulary (0,5point) 0,5 Abundant resource of words. 0,4 Show good use of words but some words are not suitable. 0,3 Use enough words but sometimes unsuitable. 0,2 Limited use of words. Some words are not suitable. 0,1 Could not control the use of words. Grammar (0,5point) 0,5 No grammar mistake 0,4 Still have some grammar mistakes but do not affect the content. 0,3 Some grammar mistakes that lead to misunderstanding. 0,2 Many grammar mistakes that lead to the misunderstanding. 0,1 A lot of grammar mistakes that lead to total misunderstanding. Paraverbal features (1point) 1 Good tone, the intonation and the volume are suitable to the content and the position and attracting the listener’s attention. 0,8 Good tone. The intonation and the volume are suitable to the context and the speaker