Category Archives: Anatomy


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The larynx is constructed of three main cartilages: thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and arytenoid cartilages. The true vocal cords (vocal folds) can be abducted, allowing air to flow freely through the glottis. They can be adducted during phonation to create voiced speech sounds. The false vocal cords do not usually play a part in phonation.

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The human hearing mechanism – the ear – consists of three parts: outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The outer ear directs sound waves into the middle ear. The ossicles of the middle ear amplify the vibration of the sound waves. The inner ear converts vibrations into electrical signals which are transmitted along the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex of the brain.

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Breathing Mechanism

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Humans breathe by flattening and contracting the diagram for inhalation and relaxing the diaphragm for exhalation. Intercostal muscles assist breathing.

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A basic understanding of the structure and form of the essential body parts that allow humans to communicate by language through the transmission system of speech is enlightening. It helps us appreciate the relationship between the physical structure of the various parts (organs and cells) and the function they perform.

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Brain Facts

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Brain areas and brain functions ‘A baby is born with over 100 billion brain cells. At birth only 25% of the brain is developed. By age three 90% of the brain is developed.’ (Catherwood, 2000) The diagram of the brain (below) reveals some key ideas about its various areas and functions. NB: To view this […]

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Anatomy of the Language System

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Lateralization Perhaps the best-known generalization about the language system is that it is represented on one side of the brain – usually the left – more than the other. Many lines of evidence support this view. Specific impairments to linguistic abilities are known as aphasia, and aphasia results much more often from damage to the […]

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brain header

The brain is divided into three parts: cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem. The cerebrum is responsible for reasoning, emotion, memory, motor movements, and speech and language skills. The cerebellum co-ordinates motor movements and the brain stem controls automatic functions such as breathing.

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Vocal Tract

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The vocal tract consists of the air passages above the larynx. There are two main cavities: the nasal cavity and the oral cavity. They are separated by the hard palate and the soft palate. The shape of nasal cavity cannot be altered. In contrast, the tongue is a flexible muscle that can alter the configuration of the oral cavity.

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Disentangling Sounds

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The auditory system has evolved to be good at disentangling sounds, using complementary intensity and wave position cues to locate high pitch and low pitch sounds.

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