Language and Linguistics

The Importance Of Speech Organs/functions/location

Speech organs

Every language is articulated through a double reality: it has a meaning component (semantic) and a sound component (phonetic-phonological). In this section (phonatory apparatus) we are interested above all in knowing and understanding what parts of the human body are used to make the sounds of language sound. We will also analyze these “sounds of language”, seeing which ones are used in Spanish, and in Chile in particular. The Importance Of Speech Organs

To begin with, we must say that communication occurs through a chain of minimal opposable (distinctive) units called phonemes . It is very important to note that these “minimal units” are a mental representation of speech sounds, that is, they only exist in our minds (you can find a more complete explanation of this in the topic ” Phonetics and phonology “). These phonemes are combined in different ways to form the words of each language (Every language known to date uses this system for communication!).

Phonemes work through oppositions, presence and absence (we will see more carefully about phonemes later), for example: / given / is different from / data /, and this, in turn, is different from / ato /. The Importance Of Speech Organs

Some astute may wonder what that noise is that we make to speak if phonemes are mental representations. Well, phonemes are brought into physical reality through allophones , which are produced by the organs of speech. In short, the mental image (phoneme) will only occur in reality, as a physically measurable phenomenon, through the allophones articulated by our phonatory apparatus.. This double dimension of the sounds of language allows that, for example, although we pronounce some “allophones” differently (think of the brilliantly variable number of ways to emit / s /: with braces, without braces, without teeth, whistle, Spanish style, etc.), we can understand each other the same, and almost without difficulties, since all these sounds or “allophones” are part of a single “phoneme”, or a mental representation (Come on, it’s not that complicated!) .

Parts of the speech apparatus

The phonetic apparatus consists of three groups of organs.

Breathing organs The Importance Of Speech Organs


The lungs are the largest organs of the human body and their main function is to allow inspiration and expiration of air . They are formed by connective tissue inside which are the bronchial tubes, which progressively branch off from the trachea. The Importance Of Speech Organs


The bronchi are the ducts that arise from the bifurcation of the trachea . Each of the bronchi is connected to one of the lungs. The air enters through the trachea and reaches the lungs through the bronchi, so that its role is very important.


The trachea is one of the most important elements of the respiratory system. It is the tube that connects the nose and mouth with the lungs and bronchi . It is shaped like a tube and consists of a set of carilaginous rings. It begins in the larynx and runs to the chest.

Phonation organs The Importance Of Speech Organs


The larynx is a tubular organ formed by a total of six cartilage . Connect the pharynx with the trachea. This is the organ of phonation because the vocal cords are located in the larynx.

Vocal chords

The vocal cords are the element of the phonological apparatus responsible for the production of the voice . Despite their name, the truth is that they have no rope shape, but are a set of folds. They are a total of four, divided into two large groups: true and false . The false ones do not participate in the production of sounds, while the true ones do. The Importance Of Speech Organs


The resonators are responsible for the vibrations that come from the vocal cords become sound.

Articulation organs

Palate The Importance Of Speech Organs

The palate is the upper wall of the oral cavity . It is divided into two parts: the bone palate and the veil of the palate. Its main function is to separate the oral cavity from the nostrils and its interaction with the tongue allows the articulation of sounds.


The tongue is a mobile organ that is inside the mouth. It has a key role in numerous functions, such as mouth hydration , swallowing or language, among others. It is characterized by its cone shape.


In the case of adults, they have a total of 32 teeth : 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars and 12 molars. It is interesting to know that not all adults have wisdom teeth since there is not always enough room for growth. The Importance Of Speech Organs

Lips The Importance Of Speech Organs

The lips are essential to carry out a large selection of functions, such as sucking or kissing, among others.


The glottis is the narrowest part of what is called laryngeal light , a space limited by the vocal cords. Before the vibration of the vocal cords, the sound is transformed into voice or loudness. Thus, when they do not vibrate what is called dull sound is produced. The Importance Of Speech Organs

The Importance Of Speech Organs

The objective of the module is to acquaint the learner with speech organs and their mechanism. This branch of phonetics concerns with the speech producing mechanism and the ‘apparatus’ in human beings and explains how the outgoing airstream is regulated along the vocal tract to form various speech sounds. All speech organs are known as articulators. These organs of speech also serve other biological needs. The airstream that goes in and out of the lungs forms the basis of speech; that is, speech is based on the outgoing airstream. The organs used for speech include the lips, teeth, alveolar ridge, hard palate, velum, uvula, glottis and the tongue. Glottis is not an active articulator because it is only a space between vocal folds

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