Lingustics and Phonations

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Airstream mechanisms

Intelligible sounds are produced by firstly placing the organs of the vocal tract in a specific configuration which influences the flow of air as it passes through the oral and/or nasal cavity. To produce a distinctive speech sound, there are two requirements: i. a configuration of organs

ii. a flow of air or airstream
How are airstreams initiated or provoked?
Basically, the questions to be answered regarding the airstream in the production of most speech sounds are two: 1. Is the airstream pulmonic or non-pulmonic?
2. In the production of sounds, does the air flow out of the body or is the air drawn into the body? All speech sounds are produced on a moving airstream.
The organs which can provoke or initiate the movement of the air in the vocal tract are called "initiators". There are three initiators:
- the lungs
- the vocal folds (glottis)
- the tongue
initiator (type of airstream)egressiveingressive
1. lungsmost speech sounds of
Indo-European languagesinhaled sigh
2. glottis
(glottalic or pharyngeal)ejectives
(unvoiced) implosives
(slightly voiced
3. tonguespittingclicks
(primary articulation)

An airstream initiated by the lungs is called a pulmonic airstream. An airstream initiated by the glottis is called a glottalic airstream. An airstream initiated by the tongue is called a velaric airstream. Most speech sounds used by Indo-European language speakers are produced on a pulmonic and egressive airstream. A pulmonic egressive airstream is used to produce a speech gesture known as an inhaled sigh. Both egressive and ingressive glottalic airstreams are used to produce speech sounds. Speech sounds produced on a glottalic egressive airstream are called "ejectives". Speech sounds produced on a glottalic ingressive airsatreams are called "implosives". The velaric egressive airstream produces a speech getsure known as "spitting". The velaric ingressive airstream produces speech sounds known as "clicks" which occur in double articulations in some African languages, for example, Xhosa. Certain clicks, for example, the dental click, are universalised speech gestures, cf. the dental click - tut-tut - and "the kiss" / / and the lateral click - "gee-up" - to make a horse move.

Pulmonic sounds
a. Pulmonic egressive
During the natural process of exhalation, the lungs act as initiators of an airstream. The diaphragm is raised by muscular action, causing the lungs to contract. The subsequent reduction of lung capacity forces air out of the lungs, up the trachea through the vocal folds and out of the body through the nasal and / or oral cavity. b. Pulmonic ingressive

During the natural inhalation process, the diaphragm is lowered by muscular action, causing an increase in lung capacity. The subsequent decrease in air pressure in the vocal tract and lungs causes air to be drawn into the body in order to compensate for the decrease in air pressure. The inhaled air passes between the lips, through the oral cavity - or alternatively through the nasal cavity - down the trachea, through the vocal folds to the lungs. The inhaled airstream is not normally used in the production of speech sounds, since the air must pass through wide open vocal folds in order to reach the lungs. The only sound which is frequently made on the inhaled pulmonic airstream is the inhaled sigh.

Glottalic sounds
Glottalic sounds are produced by closing the vocal folds tightly shut so that no air can pass through the glottis. Then, by muscular action of the larynx, the glottis is moved either up or down, initiating an egressive or ingressive airstream respectively. a. Glottalic egressive (ejectives)

Ejectives are produced on a glottalic egressive airstream.
By muscular action, the closed glottis is moved upwards, forcing air out of the oral or the nasal cavity. The upward movement of the glottis causes the air in the trachea and oral cavity to be pushed with force out of the mouth or nasal cavities....
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