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Human communication through audible language. Speech sounds are made with air exhaled from the lungs, which passes between the vocal cords in the larynx and out through the vocal tract (pharynx and oral and nasal cavities). This airstream is shaped into different sounds by the articulators, mainly the tongue, palate, and lips (seearticulation). Articulatory phonetics describes each sound in terms of the position and action of the articulators used to make it. Speech is also described in terms of syntax, lexicon (inventory of words or morphemes), and phonology (sounds).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on speech, visit Britannica.com.