What makes you able to speak?

Speakbabies can babble almost as soon as they are born. Later, they learn the names of objects by copying their parents. Being able to speak sense, and producing sound from the mouth, are two different things. Over the centuries speech has become more complicated. We are able to say more, because man's intelligence has developed. But our apparatus for producing the sound itself is still simple. The sound is made by means of vibrations of the vocal cords. These vocal cords are two bands of elastic tissue in the larynx, a valve guarding the entrance to the wind pipe in the neck. When air is taken in and out, the vocal cords rub together and part again. Puffs of air escape rhythmically from the larynx into the cavity behind the mouth and the nasal passage, and then out by the mouth and nose, producing a tone. A man's vocal cords are longer than a woman's so his voice is lower. By moving our lips and tongue in different ways, we are able to pronounce the particular words we want to say. The attempted speech sounds of babies of all nationalities sound very much the same. The actual sounds they ultimately fashion into words depends on the sounds they imitate from their parents.

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