Thursday, June 30, 2011

American English Voice Placement

Anonymous wrote:
Please try to listen some english lectures done by Americans or Europeans.And the most important try to speak with nasal sound and then speak in the normal way we Indians speak(sound produced with throat).You will see vast difference.

We need to go beyond the standard way of describing "producing with throat", etc, since it is inaccurate. Phone is a sound; phonation is the act of producing sound: how to produce sound? Of course, the standard story: larynx, vocal folds, etc.

What, then, distinguishes from one sound from another: resonance, of course. What impacts the resonance: the configuration of the vocal tract. What is the vocal tract, anyway: the space above the vocal folds, from the epiglottal place, pharynx, the mouth to tips and lips. This vocal tract is able to resonate 7 to 8 formants; the first two formants distinguish one vowel from another. In other words, vowels are formed in the vocal tract.

Here comes the interesting part: the voice placement, which is a language specific configuration of the vocal tract. AmE is different from French, which is different from Hindi.

The AmE voice placement is much more different from grossly inaccurate "nasal resonance"!

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