Of The Nature And Kinds Of The Sounds Of Speech As A Physiological Basis Tor Grammar -- By: George R. Bliss

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 008:32 (Oct 1851)
Article: Of The Nature And Kinds Of The Sounds Of Speech As A Physiological Basis Tor Grammar
Author: George R. Bliss


Of The Nature And Kinds Of The Sounds Of Speech As A
Physiological Basis Tor Grammar

Prof. George R. Bliss

§ 1. Mechanism Of The Organs Of Speech

Human speech, as an outward phenomenon (apart from the operations of the mind which give rise to it), is a mechanical function of certain corporeal organs. Its sounds belong in general to that class which are produced by the passage of a current of air through an orifice or a hollow body. They arise from the passage of the breath out of the lungs through the throat and mouth The first of these, therefore, is in a manner, the matter of which speaking sounds are formed (the real principle), the two latter the instruments or organs by which they are executed (the formal principle). These latter, which first require our more particular attention, together form a passage corresponding in structure throughout to that of a wind instrument, the throat and cavity of the mouth respectively to the mouth-piece and tube. In each of the two parts, again, distinct sections must be discriminated, each having its special functions.

1. The throat or rather the larynx (the upper end of the throat or trachea, with the rest of which we are not concerned) is a hollow vessel consisting of several cartilages, in which we note the following parts. (1) In the middle, a lengthened, narrow aperture or cleft, the glottis, whose lower orifice communicates with the trachea, its upper with the mouth. This is that, properly, which answers to the mouth-piece in the wind instrument. (2) On the inner edges of the glottis, two tense elastic ligaments, the voice-bands or glottis-bands (whose vibrations accompany the voice). (3) Over the glottis, an upright, flexible and somewhat oval-shaped cartilage, the lid of the glottis or epiglottis which rests its outer convex surface against the tongue, while the inner concave side faces the glottis so that in swallowing it is bent over by the tongue and covers it.1

2. The mouth presents a more complex mechanism in which two

organs always unite in one function. Chief parts to be noticed are, within, the cavity of the mouth and its parallel the tongue, that the passive, this the active member; without, the mouth-flaps or lips which open and shut the mouth. More minutely, we distinguish, proceeding forward, the following places or pairs of organs. (1) The root of the tongue (βάσις τῆς γλώσσης) on one side, and on the other the epiglottis together with the fauces (palate, velu...

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