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Voice Articulation

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English

In phonetics and phonology, voice articulation or voicing identifies speech sounds (like consonants and vowels) produced by the vocal folds (or vocal cords).

What is Voice Articulation?

When we think of voice, we normally think of it in terms of social interactions . Our voice carries a message with a tone or accent. It carries aspects of our heritage, our mood and our identity.


The main organs relevant to sound production or sound articulation are the respiratory system and the vocal organs.

The voice is produced in the vocal cords situated in the larynx in the thyroid cartilage or "Adam's Apple". The vocal folds create sound when they come into contact and then vibrate (or not) as the lungs' air flow passes through them. This cycle produces sound waves. To have a clear sound, the vocal folds have to vibrate regularly and symmetrically, with the pitch of the voice determined by the vibrations produced.


In the English language, we have voiced and voiceless sounds. The sound produced falls into one of these categories depending on the vocal folds' position to create the sound, and the pulmonic airstream (airflow produced by the lungs going through the larynx).

Let's have a look at the differences between voiced and voiceless sounds.

Voiced

During the vibration of the vocal folds, called voiced , we can produce different sorts of sounds. As Peter Roach, ex University professor and phonetician affirms, thanks to the larynx we can “make changes in the vocal folds themselves” , the vibration can be longer or shorter, relaxed or tensed and the pressure caused by the airflow could also differ in intensity .


If the vocal cords have a narrow passage between them, the airflow will push them together. Once stuck together, air can't pass through until enough pressure is built and forces the vocal cords to be separated again.

Voiced sound in English, where the vocal fold vibration is present, are / b, d, m, v /. When you pronounce these sounds, you can feel and hear a vibration.

Voiceless

We can also produce voiceless sounds by allowing air to pass through the vocal folds unhindered. As Beverly Collins (1938-2014) confirmed, we have many muscles interacting in the vocal tract in sound production to allow parts of the vocal organs to get in contact or near contact and articulate.


No vibration is generated while the vocal cords allow the air through without obstruction. The sound produced is called a voiceless sound.

Voiceless sounds in English, where the vocal fold don't vibrate, are / f, p, s, t /. When you pronounce any of these sounds, you can perceive the lack of vibration if you sustain them for a few seconds.

Study Tip: Place your fingers on your Adam's apple to check whether you have voiced or voiceless consonants. If you feel some vibration, it's a voiced sound, and if you don't, it's voiceless.

Voice Articulation - Key takeaways

  • In phonetics and phonology, voice articulation or voicing identifies speech sounds (like consonants and vowels) produced by the vocal folds (or vocal cords).
  • The main organs relevant to sound production or sound articulation are the respiratory system and the vocal organs.
  • In the English language, we have voiced and voiceless sounds. The sound produced falls into one of these categories depending on the position of the vocal folds to create the sound, and the pulmonic airstream (airflow produced by the lungs).
  • During the vibration of the vocal folds, called voiced, we can produce different sorts of sounds: the vibration can be longer or shorter, relaxed or tensed and the pressure caused by the airflow could also differ in intensity.
  • We can also produce voiceless sounds created with the lack of vibration of the vocal cords. Place your fingers on your Adam's apple to check whether you have voiced or voiceless consonants.

Voice Articulation

In phonetics and phonology, voice articulation or voicing identifies speech sounds (like consonants and vowels) produced by the vocal folds (or vocal cords).

We call it a voiced sound when it is created with the vibration of the vocal cords.

We call it a voiceless sound when it is created with the lack of vibration in the vocal cords.

The main organs relevant to sound production or sound articulation are the respiratory system and the vocal organs.

The voice is produced in the vocal cords situated in the larynx in the thyroid cartilage or “Adam’s Apple''.

Final Voice Articulation Quiz

Question

True or false - The vocal folds create sound when they come into contact and then vibrate (or not) as air flows through them from the lungs.

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Answer

True.

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Question

True or false - The vibration in voiced sounds doesn’t change, but always has the same intensity.

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Answer

False. The vibration in voiced sounds can be longer or shorter, relaxed or tensed, and the pressure caused by the airflow can also differ in intensity.

Show question

Question

How is a 'voiceless' sound produced? Think of an example.

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Answer

     

A voiceless sound is produced when the airflow in the vocal folds moves freely from the pharynx to the mouth. Example: phonemes /f,p,s,t/.

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Question

How is a 'voiced' sound produced? Think of an example.

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Answer

A voiced sound is produced when the vocal cords are pushed together and vibrate. Example: phonemes /b, d, m, v/.

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Question

True or false - When the vocal cords have a narrow passage between them, the airflow will push them apart.

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Answer

False. When the vocal cords have a narrow passage between them, the airflow will push them together.

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Question

What is the pulmonic airstream?

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Answer

The pulmonic airstream is the airflow coming from the lungs and passing through the larynx.

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Question

How can you feel the vibration to detect if a sound is voiced or voiceless?

Show answer

Answer

Place your fingers on your Adam’s apple to check whether you have voiced or voiceless consonants. If you feel some vibration, it’s a voiced sound, and if you don’t, it’s voiceless.

Show question

Question

True or false - We have no muscles interacting in the vocal tract in sound production to allow parts of the vocal organs to get in contact or near contact and articulate.

Show answer

Answer

False. We have many muscles interacting in the vocal tract in sound production to allow parts of the vocal organs to get in contact or near contact and articulate.

Show question

Question

Read the following extract and write if it’s a voiced or voiceless process. “Once stuck together, air can’t pass through until enough pressure is built and forces the vocal cords to be separated again”.

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Answer

Voiced as this process results in the vibration of the vocal cords.

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Question

If we think of voice, what can we add to the term leaving the linguistic side of it?

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Answer

When we think of voice we think of social interactions, a message with a tone or accent. It carries the heritage of our society, our mood and our identity.

Show question

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