By Parviz Birjandi and Mohammad Ali Salmani-Nodoushan
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Additional resources for An Introduction to Phonetics
There are a number of places where these obstructions can take place. These places are known as the articulators. They include the lips, the teeth, the alveolar ridge, the hard palate, the soft palate, and the throat. Some phoneticians define articulators as the movable parts of the vocal tract. 1. LIPS Some sounds are produced when the pulmonary air is modified (blocked or constricted) by the lips. If both of the lips are used to articulate a sound, then it is said to be a bilabial sound. Examples of bilabial sounds include /p/, /b/ and /m/.
The vocal cords can make a wedge-shaped opening when they are far apart. This opening is called the glottis. The level of vibration of the vocal cords determines whether a sound is voiced or unvoiced. When the glottis is open, pulmonary air passes through it easily without causing any friction. That is, if the vocal cords are apart, then air can escape unimpeded. Sounds produced in this way are said to be voiceless. The easiest example of this is to whisper. When you whisper, your glottis is wide open and, therefore, all the sounds produced are voiceless.
In general, the remarks made for the voiceless sound are equally valid for the voiced variant. Other hissers are [ʧ] and [ʤ]. [ʧ] is a voiceless palatal fricative. The tongue body forms a groove and approaches the hard palate. In terms of general tongue shape, this articulation qualifies as a hisser. [ʤ] is a voiced palatal fricative. It is articulated in the same way as [ʧ] but with vibration of the vocal cords. [ʃ] is a voiceless alveolar fricative (and a husher). The tip of the tongue touches the alveolar ridge.
An Introduction to Phonetics by Parviz Birjandi and Mohammad Ali Salmani-Nodoushan