What does articulation mean

Articulation - what is it?

The term articulation comes from the Latin articulare and means to pronounce clearly. Articulation is used in the linguistic (linguistic) sense to describe the formation of sounds and words in human language, i.e. the motoric process of speaking in spoken languages. Articulation means that the organs of speech, such as the larynx, tongue and vocal cords, are moved to form linguistic sounds. In addition to the organs of articulation, the types of articulation and the points of articulation are also relevant.

Organs of articulation

One of the most important prerequisites for intelligibility of the pronunciation is a clear articulation, because it gives the words their shape. Articulation is the interplay of numerous components that are generated by the sensory organs, the organs of articulation. This sensory information is passed on to the brain via the nerve tracts, where it is processed and stored. The organs of articulation work together. The organs of articulation include the palate, tongue, lips, trachea, larynx, and the upper and lower incisors. The relatively immobile areas in the oral cavity are referred to in phonetics as the place of articulation, which represents the goal of movement for the relatively movable organs of articulation when articulating speech sounds. The so-called articulation location is also known as the passive articulator.

In contrast to the articulation organ, which is called an active articulator. The language center that enables humans to articulate is located in the cerebrum. Like a walnut, the human cerebrum is divided into two halves called hemispheres. These two halves are connected by a thick nerve bar so that they can communicate and work with each other. Each of the hemispheres of the brain specializes in different tasks: As a rule, language and logic are in the left hemisphere, while the right hemisphere is where the sense of direction and creativity are located. The multiply folded cerebral cortex, the so-called neocortex, forms the outer cerebral layer and is between two and five millimeters thick. It contains, among other things, the ability to speak, learn and think, as well as memory and consciousness. The cerebral cortex receives the information it receives from the sensory organs, processes it and stores it in memory. Rational language content, for example a discussion about physics, tends to be processed in the dominant hemisphere and creative-musical content, such as music, in the non-dominant hemisphere. By definition, the hemisphere is called dominant, which mainly processes the articulation.

The different areas

As a rule, this is the left hemisphere of the brain for right-handers and the right hemisphere for left-handers, and in some cases also variable. The secondary auditory cortex on the dominant hemisphere is called the Wernicke Language Center and this is where the understanding of articulation and language takes place. The acoustic cortical fields are located directly in the outer area of ​​the lateral sulcus in the temporal lobe, or in its uppermost turn. Understanding, i.e. the sensory component of articulation, takes place in this area of ​​the brain, with the creation of sentence structure and wording, i.e. the motor component of articulation, taking place in parts of the lowest turn of the frontal lobe, the so-called Broca language center. The Broca region was discovered in 1861. The ability to form sounds and words, i.e. to articulate oneself, is anchored in this part of the brain.

Latest studies

Researchers recently found out that the Broca region does not consist of just two areas, as assumed, but of a large number of different sub-areas. It was found that the Broca region forms a highly differentiated, complex mosaic. In the future, the new organization of the Broca region will be functionally analyzed even more precisely and the interaction of the previously unknown areas will be examined. Furthermore, an examination of the Wernicke area, which is responsible for language skills, is ongoing. The latest research results indicate that the ability to speak, articulation, is at home in a visibly more differentiated brain area than has been imagined for almost 150 years. Further research results are not only relevant with regard to diagnostics and therapy, but also change the neurobiological basis for current discussions about the evolutionary development of language, language education and language disorders.

Improve articulation

It is possible to improve articulation through targeted speech therapy exercises and to refine and refine the language. If the language and the articulation often seem self-evident, there is much more to it, because with every new contact the voice decides how what is said is perceived and how it affects the other person. In everyday professional life, the articulation of the voice is an essential factor for success or failure. A clear articulation embodies self-confidence, seriousness and intelligence. A clear formulation of words and a pleasant wording are essential factors for achieving professional success. Targeted voice training can significantly improve articulation so that the right note can always be hit. A simple exercise to improve your articulation is to speak frequently in front of the mirror while checking the opening of your mouth. It can also be helpful to speak sentences on a dictation machine to check the extent to which the pronunciation is understandable.

People who speak a little indistinctly or “mumble” are recommended to do the so-called cork exercise. A wine cork is placed between the teeth and a longer text is read out loud. By having to speak through a resistance, the masticatory muscles are trained. A stronger chewing muscles lead to a clearer articulation. The exercise should be done a maximum of five minutes per day.