I'm writing a script for a voice actor and I'd like to distinguish vocalizations that are things like laughs, cries, grunts and other sounds of that sort. What is the formal term that could separate those types of vocals from actual coherent sentences?

  • Does the term 'interjection' work for you, or is that not broad enough? Jul 9, 2017 at 16:21
  • How about "vocal noises", or (with reference to this page) "voiced sounds"? Or maybe "inarticulate voiced sounds".
    – Paul
    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:37
  • I'd say that you already have the word. Vocalization usually refers to exactly the kinds of things you mention, as opposed to dialogue or productive speech.
    – Jim Mack
    Jul 10, 2017 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


"Vocalization" rarely if ever refers to "actual coherent sentences": those would be called "singing" (admittedly, singing includes coloratura and other stuff somewhat remote from coherent sentences). However, vocalizations usually feature at least syllables in style of singing rather than "laughs, cries, grunts and other sounds of that sort". I don't know a better term than "vocal exercises" even though this includes vocalizations and proper singing.

Now either vocalizations and vocal exercises are usually, well, exercises. You are talking about a "script for a voice actor" instead, namely actual productive output. Also it does not appear like you are actually talking about any form of singing at all, so one would actually not even use "vocalization" in this context.

To me the distinction seems to be "text" and "non-textual".

  • I would consider vocalizations to include both syllable singing as well as laughs and cries, I have yet to find a better word that generalizes both those sets of human noises. And no, I'm not writing for singing, I'm writing for voice acting.
    – RayOfHope
    Jul 9, 2017 at 8:20
  • I totally disagree that vocalization primarily refers to singing. It certainly can, but the term more commonly refers to speech, especially of the sort referred to by the OP. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocalization
    – Jim Mack
    Jul 10, 2017 at 22:34

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