A)Matching. Match the Speech Organs with Their Function

A)Matching. Match the Speech Organs with Their Function

English Phonetics and Phonology I – I.E.S. “Aguilares”- 2011
Name: ...... Date: ...... / Pass / Fail


A)Matching. Match the speech organs with their function.


English Phonetics and Phonology I – I.E.S. “Aguilares”- 2011
Name: ...... Date: ...... / Pass / Fail
  1. Vocal cords
  2. Lungs
  3. Pharynx
  4. Lower jaw
  5. Epiglottis
  1. Motor or engine
  2. Amplifier
  3. Food/Air Passage selector
  4. Vibrator set
  5. Shaper of oral cavity


English Phonetics and Phonology I – I.E.S. “Aguilares”- 2011
Name: ...... Date: ...... / Pass / Fail

B)The odd-one-out. All the following descriptions are true, except for one. Find it and justify why (on a separate sheet of paper)

  1. a) The pharynx is located above the larynx.

b) Sounds in the English language are produced by this articulator. ODD-ONE-OUT. Although there are “pharyngeal” sounds produced in other languages, like Arabic and Hebrew, no true pharyngeal sound is produced in English. The Vowel sound /æ/ (as in “cat”) may be produced with a certain degree of pharyngeal constriction, but it is not considered a pharyngeal sound.

c) It can be divided into three areas for the sake of phonetic study.

  1. a) There are many sounds in English which are produced in the lips.

b) The lips can adopt more than one position.

c) They consist of an active articulator and a passive articulator.ODD-ONE-OUT. Both lips (upper lip and lower lip) are considered active articulators, since, to some degree both articulate to produce sounds in different positions (rounding, spreading or being neutral)

  1. a) The root of the tongue is involved in sound production.ODD-ONE-OUT. The root of the tongue has no flexibility, since it is attached to the lower jaw. The movable parts are the tip, blade, front, centre and back parts of the tongue.

b) It is possible to spread the tongue laterally, producing lateral sounds.

c) Nasal sounds also involve a contact of a part of the tongue with an area of the mouth cavity.

C)Fill-in the gaps. Complete the gaps with only one word:

  1. The most prominent part of the larynx, and a section of the Thyroid Cartilage, is called Adam’s apple.
  2. The raising of the soft palate allows the production of oral sounds. In contrast, its lowering corresponds with the production of nasal sounds.
  3. The technical term for incoming air is ingressive.
  4. When the vocal cords are tightly closed and air is pent up below, this sound comes out with an explosion. We call it glottal stop.
  5. The process by which we take in oxygen is called inhalation.

D)Complete the following chart with examples from the theory





E)Summary. Write a summary for the following organs of speech. Do not write what you are not asked for, just the features that are asked for between brackets (5 lines per each organ).

The lungs (structure, parts, boundaries, functions, action, effect on the production of sounds)

Lungs are like two sponges which fill with air and empty it. They are divided into the left lung and right lung. They are enclosed within the rib cage and are limited by the diaphragm at the bottom. In quiet breathing, inspiration and expiration each take just about half of the time of the whole respiratory cycle, expiration being very slightly the longer. But in speech, inspiration is quieckened up and expiration very considerably slowed down so that expiration may last eight or nine times as lsong as inspiration. For loud speech air is pushed out more quickly, more forcegully. The stream of expelled air does not go out at an even pressure, the muscles pulling down the ribs do not pull evenly; the air comes out in patterns of greater and lesser pressure roughlty corresponding to syllables, in such a way that the pressure is greater at the centre of the syllable and less at its borders, and greater on louder syllables and less on not so loud ones.

The Cavities (structure, boundaries)

There are four cavities which will have a direct effect on speech: the larynx, the pharynx, the oral cavity (or mouth) and the nasal cavity (or nose)

The larynx(physiological characteristics, boundaries, structure)

It is a fairly rigid box made up of cartilages, situated at the top of the trachea. Inside the larynx are the first of the structures which can interfere with the airstream, the vocal cords. The pharynx(structure, divisions, sounds produced)

It is a tube-like cavity, It is divided into the laringo-pharynx at the bottom, the oro-pharynx and the naso-pharynx on top. The main function of the pharynx is that of resonator. It amplifies some of the characteristics of the vibrations produced by the vocal cords and gives them strength. The other feature of the pharynx (unlike resonators like violins or guitars) is that its shape is not fixed and can change very considaralby due to the action of articulators such as the velum. There are no English sounds produced in this area.

The alveolar ridge (other names, structure, movements, sounds produced)

It is the convex ridge of the gums behind the upper teeth. It is also called teeth or gum ridge. The alveolar ridge is a passive articulator, thus incapable of moving. The sounds produced in this area, with the varied action of the tongue, are called alveolar sounds.

The lips (structure, movements, sounds produced)

They are divided into upper lip and lower lip. The lips can be brought together to produce sounds like / p, b, m /, or the lower lip may articulate with the upper teeth to produce sounds like / f, v /. There are three main positions for the lips:

a)Rounded, as in “wood” or “hot”.

b)Neutral, as in “leg” or “ah”

c)Spread, as in “see”

The Vocal cords (function, movements, sounds produced)

They consist of two bands of muscle and connective tissue lying opposite to each other at the top of the trachea, fixed adjacent to each other at the front (the “Adam’s apple”). There are three important positions for the vocal cords: a) the airstream may be blocked by the closed vocal cords, pressure builds up below them from the lungs, and is then released explosively when the vocal cords suddenly part (an example of the glottal stop is the sound produced when coughing);

b) for normal breathing, the vocal folds are open. It is also the normal vocal cord position for voiceless sounds like / ʃ, p /, as in “she” and “pea”. The vocal cords in this position may also get closer and produce friction, which is the normal vocal cord position for the glottal fricative / h /, as in “he”;

c) for the most important vocal cord positions, the vocal folds can open and close rapidly in the airstream at a rate from about seventy times to more than a thousand times per second. What we perceive is a continuous vibration or note which we call “voice”.

The tongue (structure, division, movements, sounds produced)

The most important active articulator in any language. It is a complex bunch of muscles and it can be in two main positions: a) at rest, as in “ah”, or b) raised, as in “tea”. It is divided into five main parts

i)The tip, which is the front-most part and which articulate with the front teeth or the alveolar ridge

ii)The blade

iii)The front, which together with the remaining parts, are crucial for the production of certain consonants sounds, and especially of vowel sounds

iv)The middle or centre

v)The back.

The sides or rims of the tongue are especially important for the / l / sound.

The jaws (structure, movements, sounds produced)

Only the lower jaw will have an influence on the quality of certain English sounds. By lowering or raising the lower jaw, we increase or decrease the size of the oral cavity (mouth). No true sound is actually produced only with the lower jaw.

The Velum or Soft Palate (structure, movements, sounds produced)

It is the softest part of the palate and it ends in a pendant tip which be seen with a mirror, the “uvula”. The two main movements of the velum include a) raising the velum so that the nasal cavity is closed and the sound is produced exclusively in the oral cavity (or mouth); b) lowering the velum, so that the air goes out through the nasal cavity, though with some articulatory contact inside the mouth. Sounds which are produced in the velum, with tongue articulation, are called velar sounds, such as / k, g, ŋ /

F)Speech chain Mind map (mapa conceptual). Create a mind map which explains the speech chain process in a simple way