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The Structure And Use Of The Vocal Organs, And The Means Of Securing Distinct Articulation.

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54. The Classification of Sounds.—The elements of speech consist of sounds which can be classified according to the origin of their vibrations in the vocal apparatus.
(a)  Those whose origin is in the larynx—the
(b)  Those whose origin is partly in the larynx
and partly in the mouth—the voiced arti­culations.
(c)  Those whose origin is in the mouth—the breath
articulations. In class (a) the voice-passage above the vocal cords is open, but altered in shape for the particular vowel re­quired; in classes (b) and (c) the voice-passage is either partially or completely closed. There is no vibration of the articulating organs themselves in vowels* and there­fore the sonorousness and tone-producing qualities of these sounds are great; well-marked vibration of the articulating organs is set up by the consonants, and this vibration mars the purity of tone of the voiced consonants, and destroys that of the breath consonants. The breath con­sonants consist only of articulatory vibrations (not of tone vibrations whose purity has been destroyed).
* In a whisper it seems as if the vowels were merely articulated. What really takes place is, that the resonances of the cavities of the mouth, shaped for each vowel, are excited by the vibration of air under strong friction instead of by the vibrations of the voice. Under these conditions the distinctive quality of each vowel sound is particularly clear, just as in song it becomes slightly weakened by the overpowering strength of the musical vibrations of the voice.