What Is Vociferation?

G. Wiesen

Vociferation is basically a loud outcry or yell, which can be issued for a number of different reasons and usually has some type of emotional cause behind it. One of the most common reasons for this type of outburst is a negative emotion, typically instigated by fear, panic, or surprise. There are also celebratory reasons for such a sound, and the tone of voice used in this type of yell can differentiate it from those caused by negative emotions. Vociferation may also occur due to heated arguments or as a means of inspiring loyalty and passion within a listener.

Vociferation can help serve as part of someone's self defense against an attacker.
Vociferation can help serve as part of someone's self defense against an attacker.

There are many different words that can be used in the place of vociferation, such as yelp, yell, howl, scream, and holler. All of these words indicate that a person is letting out a loud and notable burst of sound from his or her mouth, and vociferation typically refers to human sounds rather than those made by animals. There are many different reasons why a person might make this sort of sound, though most of them are emotional in origin.

Screaming is a type of vociferation.
Screaming is a type of vociferation.

One of the most common causes for vociferation is as a response to a negative emotion such as fear or alarm. When someone is scared, for example, he or she might let out a loud and sudden yelp as a reaction. This not only serves as a self-defense mechanism to potentially frighten an attacker, but also functions as an alarm to call for help from anyone nearby. Pain can also cause this type of vociferation; someone who is injured often cries out as a reflex, both as a way of expressing the pain and as a potential cry for help.

There are also positive emotions that can cause this type of outcry, though the intonation behind such vociferation is often distinguishable. When someone wins a competition of some kind, it is not uncommon for him or her to cry out in joy or triumph. This can also be observed when someone overcomes a difficult task, such as solving an especially complicated problem. Such a celebration can not only relieve internal stress prior to this success, but serves as a call to others to witness the person’s victory.

Vociferation may also be used in debate or for oratory communication. In an argument, such increased vocal volume may serve as an attempt for one person to make his or her voice heard over others. For oratory purposes, increasing volume to create emphasis or to elicit an emotional response from a listener can be quite effective. Public speakers, especially political leaders, often used this type of oration to inspire loyalty and appeal to the emotions and passions of listeners.

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