• Question: How do you talk?

    Asked by natrualme on 31 May 2012. This question was also asked by preshous333, farm.
    • Photo: Jemma Ransom

      Jemma Ransom answered on 31 May 2012:

      Hi @naturalme, great question!

      There are loads of different answers to this question but I’ll just talk about the mechanics of speech I think. If you want to know how the brain makes speech possible get back in touch.

      Speech comes from your throat where there is a structure called the larynx. This originally evolved to protect your airway, but it is also used to shape sounds into speech by controlling the pitch and volume. It houses two structures called vocal folds. When air passes over these a sound is created (much like twanging the string on a guitar).

      Another interesting fact, there are only very few animals that have evolved such a structure, and therefore are able to produce our kind of speech. This isn’t because other animals are stupid, but because both food and air pass down this tube, and creating speech increases the risk that the animal will choke which creates a selection advantage for animals that can cope with this (ie, US!)