Paralanguage Influences in Intercultural Communication of Foreign Nationals in Cebu, Philippines

paralanguage, cultural differences, interactional sociolinguistics


  • Marivic Fougty Cebu Technological University, Graduate School, Philippines
  • Rey Bensig
    Cebu Technological University, Graduate School, Philippines
  • Ariel L. Ramos Cebu Technological University, Graduate School, Philippines
February 2, 2023


Paralanguage is a vital component of metacommunication in human interaction that allows people to convey nuanced meaning and emotion and add layers of meaning to their spoken utterances through manipulation of the manner of speech. This is why paralanguage is suggested to be considered as the primary facet of communicative competence in effective communication. However, this is adversely hampered by the challenges between people with different cultural backgrounds. This is because cultural differences have many effects on communication since people from different cultures communicate using distinct styles of their language, words, gestures, phrases, and other non-lexical components of speech, such as diction, pitch, and tone. Intercultural communication also includes low and high context cultures. Hence, the need to conduct this study is crucial to explore the influence of paralanguage on communication among speakers from different cultures and understand the influence of culture on the communication experiences of people coming from varied speech communities. The study employed narrative analysis as a lens to collect and analyze the data gathered from the participants. The foreign nationals were interviewed as study participants to deliberately examine the intercultural challenges in paralanguage. Data were deduced using Miles and Huberman’s thematic analytical framework. Findings revealed that paralanguage greatly influenced the communication engagements of foreign nationals with the local people and that this influence is also associated with the existing cultural background of the foreign and local communicators involved.