When does a young child first begin to talk? How is it that the cries which announce his arrival into the world change into the sounds, the words and sentences of our daily converse? Before developmental questions of this sort can be considered we need to have some notion of what happens when two normally accomplished speakers talk with one another. In the act of speaking words are produced and combined together into utterances which may be only one word, or may continue it seems interminably. In the process of joining words together a series of rules must be used according to the conventions of normal grammatical form. The particular words used and the choice of grammatical rules binding them together will convey something of what is in the speaker’s mind. Before this can happen, the individual sounds of the words, the vowels and consonants, must be produced correctly within the different parts of the vocal tract. These phonemes must be arranged in an ordered sequence, a process which has its own special rules, and bound together in a rhythmic flow of syllables with the aid of subtle variations of tone, loudness, stress and voice quality. The nonverbal elements of speech are an essential component of the act of talking, and convey information which confirms, modifies or may even contradict what the speaker is saying.
KeywordsVocal Tract Voice Quality Subtle Variation Musical Score Speak Language
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