Thanks for joining Articulation Exploration!
Articulation can be a tricky thing, but it can also help you to communicatie more effectively. You can find the recap of the lesson below. Enjoy!
I'm also available for 1-on-1 (online) coaching or group workshops. Send an email for more information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) Articulation is the way we pronounce our vowels and consonants. When I'm teaching someone about this subject they think it's only the movement of the lips and they start to exaggerate this movement up until the point that it looks a bit ridiculous. I'm glad I can tell you there is a way to articulate without looking funny.
2) What do you need? Lips, tongue, larynx and soft palate (or velum). When these elements dance together in the right way you can make your vowels and consonants. Click the video below to see what happens with your vocal tract when you're speaking.
This German professor was filmed during an MRI scan. From 1:15 he is going to speak different vowels and consonants, so you can see what happens.
3) Tongue vowels are vowels that are mainly formed by changing the position of your tongue. Below you can find 3 of them with a visualisation of how the tongue is positioned in relation to the velum and teeth.
4) For this class I've picked one type of consonants: voiced and unvoiced. Your consonants are voiced if you can hear your voice while speaking them and feel the vibration from your vocal folds in your throat. Put your fingers there to check it. With unvoiced consonants you won't feel any vibration in your throat and you won't hear your voice coming though - it's only breath.
As you can see the 'th' consonant is present in both lists. That's because both versions are used in the English language.
These 'th' words are voiced: mother, father, these.
These 'th' words are unvoiced: with, math, something.
As an exercise you could try to speak the words with your fingers on your throat to feel whether your vocal folds are vibrating or not.
5) Here are some exercises for warming up.
Exercise 1: Trilling lips. Blow air through your lips to make them vibrate. You can do this voiced or unvoiced.
Exercise 2: Make the rolling 'r' sound (rrrrrr) in the front of your mouth to warm up the tongue.
Exercise 3: Whisper as if you are whispering to someone with bad hearing, but you can't use your voice. This way you can only rely on the good articulation of your consonants. You can use the text below to practice this, but you can also pick your own speech, podcast, presentation or favourite poem.
This is only a small part of articulation. If you want to dive deeper into the possibilities and talk about other consonants, vowels and the effect of the right articulation on your audience, feel free to contact me for a follow up session via email@example.com.