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Vocables

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Language: Linguistics · Semiotics · Speech


In speech, a vocable is a speech characterisitc, an utterance, term, or word that is capable of being spoken and recognized. A non-lexical vocable is used without semantic role or meaning, while structure of vocables is often considered apart from any meaning. A vocable consists of one or a sequence of phonemes and may be represented by a string of letters or other symbols.

Non-lexical vocables are often used in music as artistic content. As a common speech disfluencies in many languages, they have little formal meaning and are rarely purposeful.

They are also used in experiments in cognitive psychology; examples from this context are the nonsense syllables introduced by Hermann Ebbinghaus, or the use of pseudowords that mimic the structure of real words in experiments in psycholinguistics.

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