Silence is the absence of ambient audible sound, the emission of sounds of such low intensity that they do not draw attention to themselves, or the state of having ceased to produce sounds; this latter sense can be extended to apply to the cessation or absence of any form of communication, whether through speech or other medium.Sometimes speakers fall silent when they hesitate in searching for a word, or interrupt themselves before correcting themselves. Discourse analysis shows that people use brief silences to mark the boundaries of prosodic units, in turn-taking, or as reactive tokens, e.g., as a sign of displeasure, disagreement, embarrassment, desire to think, confusion, and the like. Relatively prolonged intervals of silence can be used in rituals; in some religious disciplines, people maintain silence for protracted periods, or even for the rest of their lives, as an ascetic means of spiritual transformation.

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