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Area above the larynx up to the root of the tongue and the rear of the soft palate the escape of air through the pharynx is influenced by 3 positions of the soft palate:

  • The soft palate may be lowered, as in normal breathing, so that air can escape through nose and mouth (position assumed for the so-called French nasalised sounds)
  • The soft palate may be lowered so that air can only escape through the nasal cavity as in the production of the English nasal consonants [m, n]
  • The soft palate can assume a raised position so that no air escapes through the nose, but only through the mouth (oral cavity); this is the normal position assumed for the production of all English speech sounds with the exception of the nasal consonants