Have you wondered why are there so many sounds of language? Everyday we hear many sounds around us. However, the sounds of spoken English do not match up a lot of the time with letters of written English. For example, when you heard the pronunciation, you recognize the word usually written as laugh, and it is spoken as “lɑ:f” in British or “læf” in American.
If we cannot use the letters of the alphabet in a consistent way to represent the sounds we make, how do we do about describing the sounds of language, such as in English?
This article wants to tell you dearest reader that the general general study of the characteristics of speech sound is called Phonetics, and now we will dive deeper about articulatory phonetics, which is known as the study of how speech sounds are made, or just like its name ‘articulated’.
Well, in articulatory phonetics, do you know that if our lungs do not push out the air through our trachea or windpipe to the larynx, we can not put our voices outside? Inside the larynx are your vocal cords, which take two basic positions. Voiceless is sounds that produced when the vocal cords are spread apart, the air from the lungs passes between them unimpeded. Voiced sounds produced when the vocal cords are drawn together, then the air from the lungs repeatedly pushes them apart as it passes through and creating a vibration effect.
Now, you can feel the distinction if you place a fingertip gently on the top of the part of your larynx that you can feel in your neck below your chin. That part of your larynx called “Adam’s apple” in slang word. Keep place your fingertip on, then start to produce sounds such as Z-Z-Z or V-V-V. Do you feel some vibration inside? Because these are voiced sounds. Keep place your fingertip on, then start to make sounds such as S-S-S or F-F-F. Because these are voiceless sounds, there should be no vibration. Do you feel it? Do you want another way to feel the differences? Put your finger in each ear, not too far, and produce the voiced sounds to hear and feel some vibration, whereas no vibration will be heard or felt if you make voiceless sounds in the same way. (Michelle)