The most usual source of energy for our vocal activity is provided by an airstream expelled from the lungs . All the essential sounds of English use lung air for their production.
The trachea or windpipe leads the air from the lungs to the larynx.
The larynx is a casing (tubo de revestimiento) formed of cartilages (epiglottis, thyroid, arytenoid and cricoid), muscles and the hyoid bone, situated in the upper part of the trachea.
Housed within this structure are the vocal folds , two folds of ligament and elastic tissue. At the front the vocal folds are joined together and fixed to the inside of the thyroid cartilage. At the back they are attached to the two arytenoid cartilages so that if they move, the vocal folds move too.
The gap between the vocal folds is known as the glottis .
The airstream , having passed through the larynx, arrives to the upper cavities , called the vocal tract or the resonating cavities , which comprises pharynx, mouth and nose . The oral cavity acts as a resonator in speech production: any modification of its shape will produce different acoustic properties on the part of the speech sounds produced.
The epiglottis is the flap (tapa, solapa, aleta) of cartilage lying behind the tongue and in front of the entrance to the larynx. It is a valvelike cartilage which works with the larynx to act as a lid (tapa) every time we swallow. At the end of each swallow, the epiglottis moves up again, the larynx returns to rest, and the flow of air into the windpipe continues.
It is a fleshy piece of muscle, tissue (tejido) and mucous membrane that hangs down from the palate. It flips up and helps close off the nasal passages when we swallow.
Any of the various ways in which a stream of moving air can be produced within the vocal tract. The three principal mechanisms are:
pulmonic , involving lung air;
glottalic , involving pharynx air;
velaric , involving mouth air.
Each of these may produce an egressive (moving outward) or an ingressive (moving inward) airstrem. Of these, the pulmonic egressive mechanism is by far the most widespread, but the glottalic egressive and glottalic ingressive mechanisms are also well attested, and the velaric ingressive mechanism occurs in some languages.
In English there are two extralinguistic sounds which do not require pulmonic air: the one we write as tut-tut and the noise of encouragement made to horses.
The use of the larynx, aided by an airstream, to generate an audible source of acoustic energy which can be modified by the rest of the vocal tract.
Closed glottis. The vocal folds are brought close together so that no air can pass between them. The speech sound resulting from this closure of the glottis and subsequent release is called glottal stop [ʔ], e.g. preceding the energetic articulation of a vowel as in apple [ʔæp̩l], reinforcing /p,t,k/ as in clock [klɒʔk], or replacing them as in cotton [kɒʔn̨].
Open glottis. This is the state of the glottis in normal breathing and in the production of voiceless sounds , like [s] in sip and [p] in peak.
Narrow glottis. When the vocal folds are brought together in such a way that only a narrow gap is left for the air stream to pass through, the passage of air makes they vibrate. The resulting sound waves characterise voiced sounds of speech. All vowel sounds are voiced, as are sound like [m], [l], [v], [b], etc.
An almost total closure of the glottis and an escape of air in the region of the arytenoids produce a whisper.
The use of the organs of speech in the supralaryngeal vocal tract to produce speech sounds. Any particular posture or movement of these organs involved in the production of some particular speech sound.
LOCATION (place or points of articulation)
Some consonantal sounds may have a secondary place of articulation in addition to the primary: [ɫ] in addition to the partial alveolar contact there is a velarization (the back pf the tongue towards the velum). The PRIMARY ARTICULATION is that of the greatest obstruction, the SECONDARY ARTICULATION exhibits a stricture of lesser rank.
Where there are two co-existent strictures of equal rank is a DOBLE ARTICULATION: /w/ is labial and velar ( water )
MANNER (the obstruction made by the organs)
Plosive (complete closure in the vocal tract, then the air is released explosively)
Affricate (complete closure in the mouth, then the separation of the organs is slow -> extended friction)
Nasal (complete closure in the mouth but, the soft palate being lowered, the air escapes through the nose
Trill or Roll (intermittent closure,
a series of rapid intermittent closure) Don’t exist in English
Tap (intermittent closure, a single tap)
Lateral (partial closure in the mouth)
Fricative (narrowing: two organs approximate to such an extent that the airstream passes between them with friction)
Approximant (narrowing without friction: the narrowing is not enough to cause friction)
Vowels vs. consonants
Phonologically consonants are those segments which, in a particular language, occur at the edges of syllables, while vowels are those which occur at the centre of syllables. So, in beat and bought , the sounds represented by <b,t> are consonants, while the sounds represented by <ea, ough> are vowels (phonological definition: the functioning of sounds).
Phonetically consonants are more easily described in terms of their articulation, whereas vowels are more easily described in terms of auditory relationships (phonetic definition).
Vowels are: median (air escapes over the middle of the tongue), oral (air escapes through the mouth), frictionless and continuant . All sounds excluded from this definition would be consonants (median excludes the lateral [l], oral excludes nasals like [n], frictionless excludes fricatives like [s] and continuant excludes plosives like [p]).
English /j, w, r/ are consonant phonologically (functioning at the edges of syllables) but are vowels phonetically. They are called semi-vowels .
Nasals and laterals are called syllabic consonants when form syllables on their own, as the final consonants /n/ and /l/ in words like sudden and little (are the centre of such syllables even though they are phonetically consonants).
Consonants can be voiced or voiceless; vowels are voiced.
A description of these sounds must be related to:
The origin of the airstream (the lungs or other means): pulmonic or non-pulmonic
The direction of the airstream (outwards or inwards): egressive or ingressive
The vibration of the vocals folds: voiced or voiceless
The position of the soft palate (raised or lowered): oral, nasal or nasalized
The place of articulation (point or points of closure or narrowing): bilabial, labiodental, dental, alveolar, post-alveolar, palato-alveolar, palatal, velar, glottal.
The manner of articulation (type of closure or narrowing): plosive, fricative, affricate, nasal, approximant, lateral.
OBSTRUENTS VS. SONORANTS
Obstruents are those sounds in whose production the constriction impeding the airflow through the vocal tract is sufficient to cause noise, e.g. plosives, affricates and fricatives.
Sonorants are those voiced sounds in which there is no noise component, e.g. nasals, approximants and vowels.
FORTIS VS. LENIS
Fortis: a series of consonant phonemes articulated in a manner involving more energetic tensing of the articulatory apparatus, e.g. voiceless consonants
Lenis: a series of consonants articulated with relative weak energy , e.g. voiced consonants.
EJECTIVE SOUNDS, IMPLOSIVE SOUNDS AND CLICKS
Ejectives: egressive glottalic consonants. Airstream outwards. There are two closures at the same time: the glottis and other part of the oral cavity. The glottis is closed, so that lung air is contained beneath it. If the glottis is tightly closed (fuertemente cerrada), this type of articulation can apply only to voiceless sounds. The symbol is [’] ([p’,t’,k’], affricates and fricatives also may be ejective)
Implosives: ingressive glottalic consonants. The same case that for ejectives but the airstream inwards. These sounds are made by means of a combined airstream mechanism: a pulmonic airstream in combination with ingressive glottalic air. Such ingressive stops are generally voiced (glottis opens and the combined airstream makes the vocal folds vibrate) and occur with bilabial [ɓ], dental or alveolar [ɗ], or velar [ɠ] mouth closure. They are not found in normal English.
Clicks: ingressive velar consonants. They are produced entirely by means of closures within the mouth cavity. A double closure: the back of the tongue against the velum and the tip, blade, side against the teeth, teeth ridge??? alveolar ridge??? and side teeth. These sounds occur as significant sounds in a small number of languages in Africa (e.g. Zulu) and paralinguistically in most languages (as in English: the sound made to encourage horses (lateral click [ǁ]) or the one made to indicate irritation or sympathy –“tut-tut” (dental click [ǀ])).
By default these sounds are voiceless9 because the air is inside of the oral cavity, does not pass through the glottis. But some times it may be at once an airstream from lungs that produces vocal folds vibration, even can escape by nose producing nasalization.
They are normally made with a voiced egressive airstream, without any closure of narrowing. A description of vowel-like sounds must note:
The position of the soft palate (raised or lowered): oral or nasalized
The kind of aperture formed by lips (degrees of spreading or rounding): rounded, unrounded.
The part of the tongue which is raised and the degree of raising: back, central, front and high, low.
Their description presents considerable difficulty.
It is a system of reference, a theoretical system of description, on both the auditory and articulatory levels.
The basis of the Daniel Jones’ CARDINAL VOWEL system is physiological, the two qualities upon which all the others were ‘hinged’ (giraban) were produced with the tongue in certain easily felt positions:
the front of the tongue raised as close as possible to the palate without friction being produced , for the Cardinal Vowel [i]
the whole of the tongue as low as possible in the mouth, with very slight raising at the extreme back, for the Cardinal Vowel [ɑ]
From the [i] position the position of the tongue and lips changes gradually to the [ɑ] position in order to establish other six points at which the vowel quality seemed auditorily equidistant:
the front of the tongue lowering gradually from the [i] position, the lips remaining spread or neutrally open and the soft palate raised -> 3 equidistant points: [e,ɛ,a]
the back of the tongue raising from the [ɑ] position, the lips changing progressively from a wide open shape to a closely rounded one and the soft palate raised -> 3 equidistant points: [ɔ,o,u]
1 [i] and 5 [ɑ] are described articulatorily, the rest are described auditorily.
the vowel qualities are unrelated to particular values in languages, though many may occur in various languages,
the set is recorded, so that reference may always be made to a standard, invariable scale. Diacritics can be used to describe vowels related to Cardinals vowels:
lowered (more open)
raised (more close)
advanced tongue root
retracted tongue root centralized
A vowel description must also indicate whether the vowel is purely oral or whether it is nasalized. Vowels may all be transformed into their nasalized counterparts if the soft palate is lowered.
Realtively Pure Vowels Vs Gliding Vowels
It is clearly not possible for the quality of a vowel to remain absolutely constant (the organs of the speech in an unchanging way for any length of time). But we may distinguish between those vowels which are relatively pure (unchanging) (the vowel in learn ) and those which have a considerable glide (ligadura) (the vowel in line ).
In the gliding (or diphthongal) vowel sound the quality changes, it starts at a point and moves to another by means of a movement of the tongue (the direction in which the quality change is made will be shown on the diagram as an arrow).the so-called pure vowels will be marked on the diagram as a dot or, better, a ring.
Articulatory Classification Of Vowels
The scheme of articulatory classification is represented by the vowels diagram on the chart of the IPA (similar to the Cardinal Vowels Diagram).
It represents the parts of the tongue and four degrees of opening according to its position: