Is there any form of muteness that allows for non-verbal vocalization?

I have an idea for a story playing around with the age-old game concept of the heroic mute, but it kind of hinges on there being some form of medical or psychological (but preferably the former) condition that would prevent speaking but allow things like laughing, grunting, crying out, etc. Maybe some type of aphasia?

Thanks in advance

Why not have someone who’s tongue is missing/gone? Most language would be impossible without a tongue but still allows multiple ways to verbally communicate.

Derp, should’ve thought of that myself. Well, it’s a bit grim, but that works pretty well I suppose. Thanks gumpy.

Severe aphasia.

Psychological rather than strictly “medical” although I would like to argue that the former falls into the medical category also.

Selective Mutism. Most commonly seen and treated in children, but if not treated, it continues (and sometimes worsens) into adulthood. Believed to be comorbid with stressful situations or anxiety disorders.

If your character is in a place where there are no trusted people present, or has progressive mutism, then he/she wouldn’t be able to speak at all, while still being able to laugh, gasp, cry, etc.

One weird story I read was a boy with Aspergers who never could be convinced to speak to others, but had a freakish memory for lyrics and was a gifted mimic = eventually he got to the point where he would *sing *appropriate lyrics (sounding like the original singer) to people as his portion of the conversation.

I was going to post selective mutism, as well.

Broca’s aphasia.

Used by John Irving in the character of Ellen James in The World According to Garp. Two men raped her and then cut out her tongue when she was 10 years old, being too stupid to realize that 10 year olds could write. She wrote a detailed description of them, they were captured and sent to prison, where they were killed. Later, an Ellen James Society was started by women who cut out their own tongues in protest of rape.

Many with autism can communicate using gestures, symbols, PECS boards etc. while being unable or unwilling to use verbal language.

And they can certainly cry, laugh, scream, grunt and whoop! They can also understand language just fine. IQ is typically quite low, but they can be much higher functioning intellectually than you would expect based on their lack of verbal development (as their ability to use alternative modes of communication such as NitroPress mentioned indicates).

Apraxia of speech.

Oh wow, thanks guys! I really wasn’t expecting such a strong response. Now I’m spoiled for choices, I’ll have to do some reading up on your suggestions to see which would work out best.

This and this together give a pretty good explanation of the difference between aphasia and apraxia.

The short version: someone with aphasia of speech has trouble choosing words and putting them together. Someone with apraxia of speech has trouble forming words from sounds.

I’ve thought of that extensively; if everything else but the tongue was still functional, you could patch together enough different phonemes from which to construct a language:
/ɑ/, /b/, /f/, /h/, /m/, /ɔ/ (or /ɒ/), /p/, /v/ /w/, and /ʔ/, for starters, are 10 sounds that don’t require a tongue to articulate. If needed, you can elaborate more phonemes by making a phonemic distinction between glottalized and aspirated and plain sounds, and by different lengths or tones, among other possibilities. I imagined if there were an island where everyone who’d been punished by the barbarian king by having their tongues amputated and banished to that island, they could still learn to speak to one another, once a linguist helped them out.