Shout (sound)

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A shout, scream, yell, shriek, hoot, holler, vociferation, outcry, or bellow is a loud vocalization in which air is passed through the vocal folds with greater force than is used in regular or close-distance vocalization. Though technically this process can be performed by any creature possessing lungs, the preceding terms are usually applied specifically to human vocalization. There are slight differences in meaning amongst them; for example, "scream" and "shriek" generally refer to a higher-pitched sound, and a "hoot" usually does not involve words.

Emotional motivation[edit source | edit]

Reasons for shouting vary, and it may be done deliberately or simply as a reaction. The core motive, in essentially all situations, is communication. These outbursts convey alarm, surprise, displeasure or outrage, or perhaps to gain the attention of another person or an animal. In some cases, yelling may not indicate a loud voice, as in the case of a parent who is displeased with a child at church or in a library or other place where a loud voice is not permitted. To say that parent "yelled at" the child is a statement that is still accurate, even if the urgent message had been whispered. The displeasure is communicated by the urgency, which is understood by all to be "yelling" at the child.

Fear and surprise[edit source | edit]

"El Grito" (The Scream) by Mexican artist Mauricio García Vega.

When frightened, human beings tend to yelp, yelling, or cry out. This is both to convey fear and to call attention to themselves, increasing the possibility of receiving assistance from others. This action also serves as a possible defense tactic, as shouting may frighten off an assailant or cause them to falter, allowing a chance to escape.

Also, when people are not expecting something and it comes suddenly, they are surprised. If a person approaches another and jumps on them or shouts in their ear, or possibly shakes or jolts them, the targets of such pranks usually scream in shock or surprise.

Happiness[edit source | edit]

People may yell out when overcome by joy or excitement, such as when winning a game, contest, competition, or a prize.

Danger and pain[edit source | edit]

Shouting to inform others of danger is an evolutionary process within social animals. Such an action can be considered altruistic, as it announces the danger to others, while at the same time revealing the position of the one announcing the danger.

When people suffer injuries or other painful experiences, such as broken bones or gunshot wounds, they often scream in pain or surprise. These vociferations are often accompanied by crying and sobbing, and when done so, the synonym "wailing" may very well be used to describe this type of vocalization. These cries may be used to deal with the shock of the incident and can be used by others also as a way to avoid such hazards.

Anger[edit source | edit]

When angered, individuals may yell at each other to emphasize a question, command, argument, or other statement.

Other purposes[edit source | edit]

Music[edit source | edit]

Sometimes screaming or louder-than-normal vocals are used in music. This is an increasingly common vocal technique especially utilized in numerous forms of metal music.

Dialogue[edit source | edit]

Two people arguing in a "shouting match".

Some people, when arguing begin to raise their voices to the point that they are screaming at each other in anger while continuing their debate exchange. Terminology includes "shouting match".

Military[edit source | edit]

Drill instructors frequently use this tactic and its associated fear and intimidation to train recruits whilst fostering obedience and expedience.

Audio level[edit source | edit]

The volume levels of scream pitches may be very high, and this has become an issue in the sport of tennis, particularly with regards to Maria Sharapova's loud tennis grunts which have been measured as high as 101.2 decibels.[1] The loudest verified scream emitted by a human measured 129 dBA, a record set by teaching assistant Jill Drake in 2000.[2] The loudest scream by a crowd was a scream by a group of Finnish Scouts and was measured at a level of 127.2 dBA, in the grounds of Toivala's Metsäkoulu, Siilinjärvi, Finland on 16 April 2005.[3]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]