articulatory phonetics

Branch of phonetics concerned with the organs involved in the production of speech sounds ; describes and classifies speech sounds based on the organs of speech involved in their production and the manner of their production.

Note: the human organs of speech have other primary functions in breathing and consumption of food, language production is only a secondary function.

The speech sounds in English are classified into the following categories according to their articulatory features as well as their functional positions within the syllable:

The basic distinction drawn between vowels and consonants is based on the observation that in the production of consonants, different organs of speech – usually the tongue and one of the other articulator, e.g. such as the teeth or the alveolar ridge – shape the quality of the sound by making contact and altering the shape of the resonating cavities, thereby temporarily hindering or obstructing the passage of the air stream. Vowels are produced without any obstruction in the air stream through the organs of speech, however, their quality is influenced by the shape of the resonating cavity. The articulatory difference between consonants and vowels can thus be explained in terms of stricture in the air stream, as also defined in Gimson (4-1989: 30).

„When vowel and consonant have been defined phonetically, the criterion of distinction has generally been one of stricture, i.e. the articulation of vowels is not accompanied by any closure or narrowing in the speech tract which would prevent the escape of the air stream through the mouth or give rise to the audible friction; (…).“ Gimson (4-1989: 30)