Thursday, February 7, 2008

Organs of speech

Besides a brain (and the knowledge of the language), what do you need to use the spoken language?
We group them as the speech organs. Of course, right now I am only thinking of the very final phase of the incredibly complex process of speaking out.
As the speech organs can be divided into the respiratory system, the phonatory system and the articulatory system, I am mainly interested in this last one because we use these organs to modify the airstream coming out from our lungs. They are to blame for all spectrum of sounds we can create.

So what are the speech organs that belong to the articulatory system? They are:
  • lips: they serve for creating different sounds - mainly the labial, bilabial, and labiodental consonant sounds - and thus create an important part of the speech apparatus.
  • teeth
  • tongue: with its wide variety of possible movements, it assists in forming the sounds of speech.
  • alveolar ridge
  • hard palate
  • velum (soft palate): it should have holes forming that function during speech to separate the oral cavity (mouth) from the nose, in order to produce the oral speech sounds. If this separation is incomplete, air escapes through the nose during speech and the speech is perceived as hypernasal.
  • uvula: it functions in tandem with the back of the throat, the palate, and air coming up from the lungs to create a number of guttural and other sounds. In many languages, it closes to prevent air escaping through the nose when making some sounds.
  • glottis
If you want a neat and short tutorial about this, you can check this one (it even includes a pair of quizzes).
A more in-depth paper about the organs of speech and their application in the formation of articulate sounds can be found here (even though the original date of publication is some 100 years ago).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The percieved similarities and/or differences of humans with other life forms cannot yield anything of value.

For a start, the audio dexterity of many birds and animals are much greater than of humans. Yet speech never evolved, which stands as the greatest blow of all to ToE, despite the advantage of time, which evolution depends on. The sub-set of adaptation is also foiled here: no other life form adapted to the most powerful tool in the universe - 'speech'.

Amazingly, all the multitudes of rationalisations of fossils cannot prove a single speech endowed creature before 6000 years; speech appeared suddenly and aligns with history per se, human populations and mental prowess grads. Does no one find it amazing that we do not have a NAME, the pivotal mark of speech, pre-6000? To boot, we also have no kings, wars, nations, monuments.

I say, don't believe everything told by the white gowns - ask for surrounding on the ground proof to match their theories. Speech is too important an issue to swallow neo age jargon. Demand a NAME - and know that the escapist 'NO WRITINGS' is also a slight of hand casino science - because this inclines only with speech being a tad less than 6000!

The ratio of speech among life forms is:


Ruminate that!