Physiological Processes of Speech Production

  • Kiyoshi HondaEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


Speech sound is a wave of air that originates from complex actions of the human body, supported by three functional units: generation of air pressure, regulation of vibration, and control of resonators. The lung air pressure for speech results from functions of the respiratory system during a prolonged phase of expiration after a short inhalation. Vibrations of air for voiced sounds are introduced by the vocal folds in the larynx; they are controlled by a set of laryngeal muscles and airflow from the lungs. The oscillation of the vocal folds converts the expiratory air into intermittent airflow pulses that result in a buzzing sound. The narrow constrictions of the airway along the tract above the larynx also generate transient source sounds; their pressure gives rise to an airstream with turbulence or burst sounds. The resonators are formed in the upper respiratory tract by the pharyngeal, oral, and nasal cavities. These cavities act as resonance chambers to transform the laryngeal buzz or turbulence sounds into the sounds with special linguistic functions. The main articulators are the tongue, lower jaw, lips, and velum. They generate patterned movements to alter the resonance characteristics of the supra-laryngeal airway. In this chapter, contemporary views on phonatory and articulatory mechanisms are summarized to illustrate the physiological processes of speech production, with brief notes on their observation techniques.


Vocal Fold Vocal Tract Hyoid Bone Arytenoid Cartilage Tongue Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.









functional residual capacity


magnetic resonance imaging


open quotient




radio frequency


speed quotient


temporomandibular joint




voice onset time


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Phonétique et de Phonologie, ATR Cognitive Information LaboratoriesUniversité de la Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris IIIParisFrance

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