Articulatory phonetics

Authored by: Bryan Gick , Murray Schellenberg , Ian Stavness , Ryan C. Taylor

The Routledge Handbook of Phonetics

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138648333
eBook ISBN: 9780429056253
Adobe ISBN:


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The field of articulatory phonetics is concerned primarily with the question of how speech is realized through movements of body structures. While articulatory phoneticians have often described speech sounds using terms that refer to an inventory of body parts (e.g., “tongue,” “lips,” “velum,” etc.), a core challenge of articulatory phonetics is to understand how such structures function and interact to produce speech sounds. A complete understanding of articulatory phonetics thus requires that we define ways of mapping our descriptive terms onto groupings of nerves and muscles that our brains and bodies can use to produce speech movements. This chapter explores some of the ways articulatory phoneticians describe speech sounds, suggesting that a more fully embodied approach can provide novel insights into speech articulation and can help to understand links between speech and other functions of the human vocal tract.

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