The human speech apparatus

Science 2023

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The human speech apparatus
The human speech apparatus

The speech apparatus is a set of interacting human organs that are actively involved in the occurrence of sounds and speech breathing, thereby forming speech. The speech apparatus includes the organs of hearing, articulation, respiration and the central nervous system. Today we will take a closer look at the structure of the speech apparatus and the nature of human speech.

Sound production

To date, the structure of the speech apparatus can safely be considered 100% studied. Thanks to this, we have the opportunity to learn how sound is born and what causes speech disorders.

Sounds are born due to the contraction of the muscle tissues of the peripheral speech apparatus. Starting a conversation, a person automatically inhales air. From the lungs, the air flow enters the larynx, nerve impulses cause the vocal cords to vibrate, and they, in turn, create sounds. Sounds add up to words. Words into sentences. And the proposals - in intimate conversations.

Structure of the speech apparatus

speech apparatus

Speech, or, as it is also called, voice, the device has two departments:central and peripheral (executive). The first consists of the brain and its cortex, subcortical nodes, pathways, stem nuclei and nerves. Peripheral, in turn, is represented by a set of executive organs of speech. It includes: bones, muscles, ligaments, cartilage and nerves. Thanks to the nerves, the listed organs receive tasks.

Central Office

Like other manifestations of the nervous system, speech occurs through reflexes, which, in turn, are associated with the brain. The most important parts of the brain responsible for speech reproduction are: the frontal lobe, temporal part, parietal and occipital regions. For right-handers, this role is played by the right hemisphere, and for left-handers, it is the left.

The frontal (lower) gyrus is responsible for the creation of oral speech. The convolutions located in the temporal zone perceive all sound stimuli, that is, they are responsible for hearing. The process of understanding the sounds heard occurs in the parietal region of the cerebral cortex. Well, the occipital part is responsible for the function of visual perception of written speech. If we consider in more detail the speech apparatus of the child, we can see that his occipital part is developing especially actively. Thanks to it, the child visually fixes the articulation of the elders, which leads to the development of his oral speech.

The brain interacts with the peripheral section through centripetal and centrifugal pathways. The latter send brain signals to the organs of the speech apparatus. Well, the first ones are responsible for delivering the response signal.

The structure of the speech apparatus

The peripheral speech apparatus consists of three more sections. Let's take a look at each one.

Respiratory department

We all know that breathing is the most important physiological process. The person breathes reflexively without thinking about it. The process of breathing is regulated by special centers of the nervous system. It consists of three stages, continuously following each other: inhalation, short pause, exhalation.

Speech is always formed on the exhale. Therefore, the air flow created by a person during a conversation performs articulatory and voice-forming functions at the same time. If this principle is violated in any way, speech is immediately distorted. That is why many speakers pay attention to speech breathing.

The respiratory organs of the speech apparatus are represented by the lungs, bronchi, intercostal muscles and diaphragm. The diaphragm is an elastic muscle that, when relaxed, has the shape of a dome. When it, together with the intercostal muscles, contracts, the chest increases in volume and inspiration occurs. Accordingly, when relaxing - exhale.

Voice department

We continue to consider the departments of the speech apparatus. So, the voice has three main characteristics: strength, timbre and pitch. The vibration of the vocal cords causes the air flow from the lungs to be converted into vibrations of small air particles. These pulsations, being transferred to the environment, create the sound of the voice.

Child's speech apparatus

The strength of the voice mainly depends on the amplitude of the vibrations of the vocal cords, which is regulated by the strength of the air flow.

Timbre can be called sound coloring. For all people, it is different and depends on the shape of the vibrator that creates vibrations of the ligaments.

As for the pitch of the voice, it is determined by the degree of tension of the vocal folds. That is, it depends on how much influence the air flow can have on them.

Articulation department

The speech articulatory apparatus is simply called sound-producing. It includes two groups of organs: active and passive.

Active Organs

As the name implies, these organs can be mobile and are directly involved in the formation of the voice. They are represented by the tongue, lips, soft palate and lower jaw. Since these organs are made up of muscle fibers, they can be trained.

When the organs of speech change their position, constrictions and locks appear in various parts of the sound-producing apparatus. This leads to the formation of a sound of one kind or another.

The soft palate and lower jaw of a person can rise and fall. With this movement, they open or close the passage to the nasal cavity. The lower jaw is responsible for the formation of stressed vowels, namely the sounds: "A", "O", "U", "I", "S", "E".

The main organ of articulation is the tongue. Thanks to the abundance of muscles, he is extremely mobile. The tongue can: shorten and lengthen, become narrower and wider, be flat and arched.

Human lips, being a mobile formation, take an active part in the formation of words and sounds. The lips change their shape and size to produce vowel sounds.

The soft palate, or, as it is also called, the palatine curtain, is a continuation of the hard palate and lies at the top of the oral cavity. It, like the lower jaw, can rise and fall, separating the pharynx from the nasopharynx. The soft palate originates behind the alveoli, near the upper teeth, and ends with a small tongue. When a person pronounces any sounds other than "M" and "H", the veil of palate rises. If for some reason it is lowered or motionless, the sound comes out "nasal". The voice is raspy. The reason for this is simple - when the veil of the palate is lowered, sound waves along with air enter the nasopharynx.

Departments of the speech apparatus

Passive organs

The human speech apparatus, or rather its articulatory department, also includes immovable organs, which are the support for the mobile ones. These are teeth, nasal cavity, hard palate, alveoli, larynx and pharynx. Although these organs are passive, they have a huge impact on the technique of speech.

Violation of the speech apparatus

Now that we know what the human vocal apparatus consists of and how it works, let's look at the main problems that may affect it. Problems with the pronunciation of words, as a rule, arise from the lack of formation of the speech apparatus. When certain parts of the articulatory department become ill, this is reflected in the correct resonation and clarity of pronunciation of sounds. Therefore, it is important that the organs that are involved in the formation of speech are he althy and work in perfect harmony.

The speech apparatus can be impaired by variousreasons, since it is a rather complex mechanism of our body. However, among them there are problems that occur most often:

  1. Defects in the structure of organs and tissues.
  2. Incorrect use of the vocal apparatus.
  3. Disorders of the corresponding parts of the central nervous system.

If you have speech problems, don't put them on the back burner. And the reason here is not only that speech is the most important factor in the formation of human relations. Usually people who have impaired speech apparatus not only speak poorly, but also experience difficulties in breathing, chewing food and other processes. Therefore, by eliminating the lack of speech, you can get rid of a number of problems.

Violation of the speech apparatus

Preparation of speech organs for work

For a speech to be beautiful and relaxed, it needs to be taken care of. This usually takes place in preparation for public performances, when any hesitation and mistake can cost reputation. Speech organs are prepared in work with the aim of activating (tuning) the main muscle fibers. Namely, the muscles that are involved in speech breathing, the resonators responsible for the sonority of the voice, and the active organs, on the shoulders of which the intelligible pronunciation of sounds lies.

The first thing to remember is that the human speech apparatus functions best with proper posture. This is a simple but important principle. To make speech clearer, you need to keep your head straight and your back straight. The shoulders should be relaxed, and the shoulder blades should be slightly flattened. Now nothing's stopping yousay nice words. Getting used to the correct posture, you can not only take care of the clarity of speech, but also gain a more favorable appearance.

For those who, by the nature of their activities, speak a lot, it is important to relax the organs responsible for the quality of speech and restore their full working capacity. Relaxation of the speech apparatus is ensured by performing special exercises. It is recommended to do them immediately after a long conversation, when the vocal organs are very tired.

Relaxation posture

You may have already come across such concepts as posture and relaxation mask. These two exercises are aimed at relaxing the muscles or, as they say, removing muscle clamps. In fact, they are nothing complicated. So, to assume a relaxation pose, you need to sit on a chair and bend forward slightly with your head bowed. In this case, the legs should stand with the whole foot and form a right angle with each other. They should also bend at right angles. This can be achieved by choosing the right chair. The arms hang down, with the forearms resting lightly on the thighs. Now you need to close your eyes and relax as much as possible.

Human speech apparatus

To make rest and relaxation as complete as possible, you can do some forms of auto-training. At first glance it seems that this is a pose of a dejected person, but in fact it is quite effective for relaxing the whole body, including the vocal apparatus.

Relaxation mask

This simple technique is also very important for speakers and those whospeaks a lot about the specifics of his activity. There is also nothing complicated here. The essence of the exercise is the alternating tension of the various muscles of the face. You need to “put on” different “masks” on yourself: joy, surprise, longing, anger, and so on. Having done all this, you need to relax the muscles. It is not at all difficult to do this. Just say the sound "T" on a weak exhalation and leave the jaw in a free lowered position.

Peripheral speech apparatus

Relaxation is one of the elements of oral hygiene. In addition to it, this concept includes protection against colds and hypothermia, avoidance of mucosal irritants and speech training.


This is how interesting and complex our speech apparatus is. To fully enjoy one of the most important gifts of a person - the ability to communicate, you need to monitor the hygiene of the vocal apparatus and treat it with care.

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