Articulatory phonetics

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The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics. In studying articulation, phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of different physiological structures.

Generally, articulatory phonetics is concerned with the transformation of aerodynamic energy into acoustic energy. Aerodynamic energy refers to the airflow through the vocal tract. Its potential form is air pressure; its kinetic form is the actual dynamic airflow. Acoustic energy is variation in the air pressure that can be represented as sound waves, which are then perceived by the human auditory system as sound.[1]



The vocal tract can viewed through an aerodynamic-biomechanic model which includes three main components:

Air cavities are containers of air molecules of specific volumes and masses. The main air cavities present in the articulatory system are the supraglottal cavity and the subglottal cavity. They are so-named because the glottis, the openable space between the vocal folds internal to the larynx, separates the two cavities. The supraglottal cavity or the orinasal cavity is divided into an oral subcavity (the cavity from the glottis to the lips excluding the nasal cavity) and a nasal subcavity (the cavity from the velopharyngeal port which can be closed by raising the velum to the nostrils). The subglottal cavity consists of the trachea and the lungs. The atmosphere external to the articulatory stem may also be consisted an air cavity whose potential connecting points with respect to the body are the nostrils and the lips.

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