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Anatomy of Speech
Production
Ozarks Technical Community College
HIS 120
Requirements for Speech
Production
• Respiration
• Phonation
• Articulation
• Resonance
Image from Zemlin text
What is required for sound
production?
• Sound production requires two things:
• Power/energy source
• Vibrating element
• When it comes to speech production, the power source is air
that comes from the lungs and the vibration occurs in the
vocal cords
The Respiratory Passage
• Nasal Cavity
• Oral Cavity
• Pharynx
• Larynx
• Trachea
• Bronchi
• Lungs
Image adapted from: integrisok.com
Respiration
• Also known as breathing
• Two phases:
• Inhalation
• Also known as inspiration
• Occurs when diaphragm lowers, which causes increased
volume/space in thoracic cavity. This results in negative pressure in
the lungs compared to the atmospheric pressure outside the lungs;
therefore, air rushes from outside the body into the oral and nasal
cavities, down the trachea, and into the lungs.
• Exhalation
• Also known as expiration
• The decrease in the volume/space of thoracic cavity after inhalation
results in positive pressure in the lungs. If the airway is open, air will
rush out of the lungs (up the trachea and out the oral and nasal
cavities) in order to equalize the outside and inside pressure.
Phonation
• The act of phonation occurs in the larynx, where the vocal
cords are housed
• The larynx is also called the “voice box”
• The Larynx is composed of:
• Cartilages (6)
• Single cartilages: Epiglottis, thyroid, cricoid
• Paired cartilages: Arytenoid, corniculate and cuneiform
• Muscles & Ligaments
• Support and connect the cartilages of the larynx
• Form the vocal cords
• Refer to YouTube videos on Larynx
Phonation
• When air from the lungs is forced through closed vocal cords, the
vocal cords vibrate and phonation occurs
• The pitch of sounds produced in the larynx is dependent upon the
tension of the vocal cords
• Elongation and tension of the cords results in faster vibration =
higher frequency/pitch
• Shortening and relaxation of the cords results in slower vibration =
lower frequency/pitch
• Fundamental frequency of male voice=130 Hz
• Fundamental frequency of female voice=220 Hz
• The loudness of sounds produced in the larynx is dependent upon
the speed of air flowing through the glottis (space between the
cords).
• The air speed is greatest when the pressure build-up below the vocal
cords (subglottal pressure) is high
Anatomy of the Larynx-
Cartilages
Image from: http://faculty.stcc.edu/AandP
Vocal Cords
• Also referred to as vocal
folds
• Housed within the larynx
• Attached anteriorly to the
thyroid cartilage and
posteriorly to the arytenoid
cartilages
• Closed when we swallow
to protect our airway
• Open when we are
breathing in order to allow
air in/out of lungs
• Vibrate open and closed
during phonation
Image from: nidcd.nih.gov
Articulation
• Tongue
• Lips
• Teeth
• Alveolar ridge (gums behind upper teeth)
• Soft Palate
• Hard Palate
• Velum/uvula
• The variable action of the tongue on all of the structures listed
above results in our ability to articulate different speech sounds
• A PHONEME is the technical term for a specific sound of speech
• Phonemes are either vowels or consonants
Vowels
• Vowel sounds
• There are 5 vowels in the English language (a, e, i, o, u), but there
are 12 different vowels sounds (i.e. the letter “i” makes different
sounds in the words “miss” and “mice”)
• The articulation of the different vowel sounds depends on:
• The point of constriction
• The degree of constriction
• The degree of lip-rounding
• The degree of muscle tension
• Vowel sounds make up 38% of our speech
• Refer to Zemlin, pp. 300-303
Consonants
• Consonants of English are classified by:
• Place of articulation
• Manner of articulation
• Degree of Voicing
• Consonant sounds make up 62% of our speech
• Refer to Zemlin, pp. 302
Classification of Consonants by
Place of Articulation
• Bilabial: both lips come
together (p, b, m, w)
• Labiodental: lower lip and
upper teeth make contact (f, v)
• Dental: the tongue makes
contact with the upper teeth (-
th)
• Alveolar: the tip of the tongue
makes contact with the alveolar
ridge (t, d, s, z, n, l)
• Palatal: the tongue approaches
the palate (j, r, -sh)
• Velar: back of the tongue
contacts the velum (k, g, -ng)
• Glottal: this is really an
unvoiced vowel (h)
Image from: https://notendur.hi.is
Classification of Consonants by
Manner of Articulation
• Manner of articulation refers to the degree of constriction as
the consonants begin or end a syllable
• Stops are defined by complete closure of the lips and subsequent
release (p, b)
• Fricatives use an incomplete closure of the lips to create
turbulent noise (f, s, sh)
• Nasals resonate through the nasal cavity (m, n)
• Hint: try making these nasal sounds with your nostrils plugged 
• Glides and Liquids are produced when the tongue approaches a
point of articulation within the mouth but does not come close
enough to obstruct or constrict the flow of air enough to create
turbulence (l, r, w)
Voiced vs. Voiceless
Consonants
• Voiced consonants are produced with the vocal cords
vibrating
• Voiceless consonants are produced with the vocal cords open
• Example
• The sounds /f/ and /v/ are both labiodental fricatives; however, /f/ is
voiceless and /v/ is voiced
Resonance
• Dependent upon the size and shape of the:
• Vocal Tract
• Oral Cavity
• Nasal Cavity
• The resonant frequency of each of our voices will differ
depending on the size and shape of the structures above,
much like how the resonance of a cello or bass differs from a
guitar, which differs from a ukelele.

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Anatomy of speech production

  • 1. Anatomy of Speech Production Ozarks Technical Community College HIS 120
  • 2. Requirements for Speech Production • Respiration • Phonation • Articulation • Resonance Image from Zemlin text
  • 3. What is required for sound production? • Sound production requires two things: • Power/energy source • Vibrating element • When it comes to speech production, the power source is air that comes from the lungs and the vibration occurs in the vocal cords
  • 4. The Respiratory Passage • Nasal Cavity • Oral Cavity • Pharynx • Larynx • Trachea • Bronchi • Lungs Image adapted from: integrisok.com
  • 5. Respiration • Also known as breathing • Two phases: • Inhalation • Also known as inspiration • Occurs when diaphragm lowers, which causes increased volume/space in thoracic cavity. This results in negative pressure in the lungs compared to the atmospheric pressure outside the lungs; therefore, air rushes from outside the body into the oral and nasal cavities, down the trachea, and into the lungs. • Exhalation • Also known as expiration • The decrease in the volume/space of thoracic cavity after inhalation results in positive pressure in the lungs. If the airway is open, air will rush out of the lungs (up the trachea and out the oral and nasal cavities) in order to equalize the outside and inside pressure.
  • 6. Phonation • The act of phonation occurs in the larynx, where the vocal cords are housed • The larynx is also called the “voice box” • The Larynx is composed of: • Cartilages (6) • Single cartilages: Epiglottis, thyroid, cricoid • Paired cartilages: Arytenoid, corniculate and cuneiform • Muscles & Ligaments • Support and connect the cartilages of the larynx • Form the vocal cords • Refer to YouTube videos on Larynx
  • 7. Phonation • When air from the lungs is forced through closed vocal cords, the vocal cords vibrate and phonation occurs • The pitch of sounds produced in the larynx is dependent upon the tension of the vocal cords • Elongation and tension of the cords results in faster vibration = higher frequency/pitch • Shortening and relaxation of the cords results in slower vibration = lower frequency/pitch • Fundamental frequency of male voice=130 Hz • Fundamental frequency of female voice=220 Hz • The loudness of sounds produced in the larynx is dependent upon the speed of air flowing through the glottis (space between the cords). • The air speed is greatest when the pressure build-up below the vocal cords (subglottal pressure) is high
  • 8. Anatomy of the Larynx- Cartilages Image from: http://faculty.stcc.edu/AandP
  • 9. Vocal Cords • Also referred to as vocal folds • Housed within the larynx • Attached anteriorly to the thyroid cartilage and posteriorly to the arytenoid cartilages • Closed when we swallow to protect our airway • Open when we are breathing in order to allow air in/out of lungs • Vibrate open and closed during phonation Image from: nidcd.nih.gov
  • 10. Articulation • Tongue • Lips • Teeth • Alveolar ridge (gums behind upper teeth) • Soft Palate • Hard Palate • Velum/uvula • The variable action of the tongue on all of the structures listed above results in our ability to articulate different speech sounds • A PHONEME is the technical term for a specific sound of speech • Phonemes are either vowels or consonants
  • 11. Vowels • Vowel sounds • There are 5 vowels in the English language (a, e, i, o, u), but there are 12 different vowels sounds (i.e. the letter “i” makes different sounds in the words “miss” and “mice”) • The articulation of the different vowel sounds depends on: • The point of constriction • The degree of constriction • The degree of lip-rounding • The degree of muscle tension • Vowel sounds make up 38% of our speech • Refer to Zemlin, pp. 300-303
  • 12. Consonants • Consonants of English are classified by: • Place of articulation • Manner of articulation • Degree of Voicing • Consonant sounds make up 62% of our speech • Refer to Zemlin, pp. 302
  • 13. Classification of Consonants by Place of Articulation • Bilabial: both lips come together (p, b, m, w) • Labiodental: lower lip and upper teeth make contact (f, v) • Dental: the tongue makes contact with the upper teeth (- th) • Alveolar: the tip of the tongue makes contact with the alveolar ridge (t, d, s, z, n, l) • Palatal: the tongue approaches the palate (j, r, -sh) • Velar: back of the tongue contacts the velum (k, g, -ng) • Glottal: this is really an unvoiced vowel (h) Image from: https://notendur.hi.is
  • 14. Classification of Consonants by Manner of Articulation • Manner of articulation refers to the degree of constriction as the consonants begin or end a syllable • Stops are defined by complete closure of the lips and subsequent release (p, b) • Fricatives use an incomplete closure of the lips to create turbulent noise (f, s, sh) • Nasals resonate through the nasal cavity (m, n) • Hint: try making these nasal sounds with your nostrils plugged  • Glides and Liquids are produced when the tongue approaches a point of articulation within the mouth but does not come close enough to obstruct or constrict the flow of air enough to create turbulence (l, r, w)
  • 15. Voiced vs. Voiceless Consonants • Voiced consonants are produced with the vocal cords vibrating • Voiceless consonants are produced with the vocal cords open • Example • The sounds /f/ and /v/ are both labiodental fricatives; however, /f/ is voiceless and /v/ is voiced
  • 16. Resonance • Dependent upon the size and shape of the: • Vocal Tract • Oral Cavity • Nasal Cavity • The resonant frequency of each of our voices will differ depending on the size and shape of the structures above, much like how the resonance of a cello or bass differs from a guitar, which differs from a ukelele.