Now, let's come to the second category, physical paralinguistic features, which involves the body.
In addition to conveying meanings with tone of voice, we can also express our intentions through the ways in which we use our bodies.
You may ask: what are the ways, then? Let me cite some brief examples.
The expression on our face, the gestures we make and even proximity or way we sit, are some of the ways we send powerful messages about how we feel, or what we mean.
Let me explain some of these in more detail. First, facial expression. Facial expression is a powerful conveyer of meaning.
We all know smiling is an almost universal signal of pleasure or welcome.
But there are other facial expressions that may not be so common.
For instance, raising eye-brows suggest that you are surprised or interested in something.
Other facial actions, such as biting your lip, which indicates that you are deep in thinking, or are uncertain about something;
compressing the lips, which show that you are making decisions; and a visible clenching of the teeth, to show that you are angry, are all powerful conveyers of meaning, too.
The second in this category is gesture. You see, we use gesture to indicate a wide range of meanings.
Though I have to emphasize that the actual gestures we use may be specific to particular cultures.
That is to say different cultures have their own favorite gestures in conveying meaning.
Here, a few examples may show you how powerful gestures can be.
In British English behavior, shrugging shoulders may indicate an attitude of "I don't care", or "I don't know".
Crossing your arms may indicate relaxation. But it can also powerfully show you are bored. Waving can mean welcome and farewell.
While scratching your head may indicate that you are at a loss. In other cultures, placing your hand upon your heart is to indicate that you are telling the truth.
Pointing your finger at your nose means it's a secret. That's why we say that gestures are culture bound.