Place of Articulation

The 'Place of Articulation' is the point of contact, where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an active, moving articulator (typically one part of the tongue) and a passive articulator (typically one part of the roof of the mouth). The 'Manner of Articulation' gives the consonant its distinctive sound.

The 'Place of Articulation', the speech organs, are primarily involved in the production of a particular sound. These speech organs modify the airstream that is pushed up by the lungs; this process produces different sounds. The place where the airstream is obstructed is furthermore significant for the exact production of sounds.

Consonants are distinguished according to the location of their production (the various organs of the vocal tract).

Talking about the Place of Articulation we distinguish between active and passive articulators. There are five active articulators that can act independently of one another:

The passive articulation is a range without clear-cut boundaries. The places fuse into one another, and a consonant is pronounced somewhere between the following named places.

  • labial and interdental
  • interdental and dental
  • dental and alveolar
  • alveolar and palatal
  • palatal and velar
  • velar and uvular

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Here you will find some help with all the unfamiliar (medical) terms: Vocabulary