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speech mechanism

(spch mek'-nizm)
Peripheral structures involved in the normal production of speech, encompassing the organs of articulatio
n,phonation, resonance, and respiration.
See also: articulation, articulators, phonation, resonance, respiration
It is important to understand the mechanisms of speech production because almost always speech is
affected by hearing loss. Here is a basic overview of what takes place inside our bodies during the act of
speech production.
The steady stream of air as we exhale is the energy source for speech production. Sounds which come
from our mouth, or even our nose, are the result of interruptions of a stream of air moving from the lungs
--oral cavity
--nasal cavity
The speech process itself consists of 3 structures:
1.) Structure of respiration
2.) Structure of resonation
3.) Structure of articulation
The first structure, structure of respiration, is the structure which is our power source to speak. The
exhaled air is our energy source for speech. The organs involved in respiration are the trachea, rib cage,
thorax, abdomen, diaphragm, and lungs.
How it works:
Our lungs first expand which creates negative pressure and makes air available for speaking. Then
to actually speak, our lungs deflate and our rib cage contracts forcing the air out, up into our trachea.
The second structure, structure of resonation, is the structure which vibrates/makes sound. The organs
invovled in this structure are the larnyx, and the vocal cords/folds. The vocal cords are part of the
larynx. The vocal cords are the organ responsible for sound!
How it works:
When we talk, the vocal cords open and close rapidly. Air travels up the larynx, causing pressure to build
up which causes the vocal cords to be pushed apart. A reduction of pressure causes the vocal cords to
be pulled back together. This vibration (pushing/pulling of the vocal cords) is what is responsible for
making sound (pitch and loudness). The larynx also acts as a gate between the lungs and mouth. It
opens and closes to control the flow of air from the lungs. The larynx also closes so that food or liquid do
not enter the trachea and lungs. Hence the saying, "It went down the wrong pipe."
The third structure, structure of articulation, is responsible for creating different sounds of speech. The
joining together of speech organs for production of speech sounds is called articulation. The organs
involved in this structure is everything from the lips up to the vocal cords. This includes the lips, teeth,
tongue, alveolar ridge, soft/hard pallate, and jaw.
How it works:
By moving and shaping these articulators, it enables us to produce different speech sounds.
In brief, the air flow from the lungs provides energy for speech production, which in turn allows for the
vocal cords to convert this energy into an audible noise. The articulators--through altering the shape of
the vocal tract--transform the noise into detectable speech sounds.

1. the exchange of OXYGEN and CARBON
between the atmosphere and the body cells, including INHALATION andEXHALATION, DIFFUSION of o
xygen from the pulmonary alveoli to the blood and of carbon dioxide from the blood to the alveoli,followed
by the transport of oxygen to and carbon dioxide from the body cells. See also VENTILATION (def. 2) and s

2. the metabolic processes by which living cells break down carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats to prod
uce energy inthe form of ADENOSINE TRIPHOSPHATE (ATP); called also cell respiration.
THE RESPIRATORY SEQUENCE. The sequence of the respiration process begins as air enters the corridors o
f the nose ormouth, where it is warmed and moistened. The air then passes through the pharynx, larynx,
and trachea and into thebronchi.

1. the prolongation and intensification of sound produced by transmission of its vibrations to a cavity, espe
cially such asound elicited by percussion. Decrease of resonance is called dullness; its increase, flatness.
2. a vocal sound heard on auscultation.

Organs of the speech mechanism that form the configurations required for production of meaningful spee
ch sounds,i.e., the teeth, lips, mandible, tongue, velum, and pharynx.
See also: speech mechanism