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Re: Ventricular phonation

From:Mark Jones <markjjones@...>
Date:Monday, March 28, 2005, 15:46
Just to clarify a few points here for the phonetically-interested.

1) The ventricular (false vocal) folds do indeed lie above the true vocal
folds. They *are* used in speech, contrary to reports by some previous
correspondents reporting the standard textbook accounts. All kinds of creaky
voice apparently involve adducted (closed) true and false (ventricular)
vocal folds. The adduction of both sets of folds results in a very thick
mass of tissue, normally separated by the ventricle of Morgagni. The range
of voice types which are classified in phonetics is huge, and there is some
debate over how many separate types should be/can be recognised, and what
they're called... Vocal fry (true creak) may be different.

2) Recent laryngoscopic studies indicate that glottal stops often (usually?)
involve adduction of both sets of folds in languages lacking a contrast with
pharyngeal/epiglottal stops (English, Swedish), as do the glottally
reinforced / preglottalised coda/final voiceless stops found in many
varieties of English (General American and Standard British English), e.g.
pack produced as [pa?k].

3) Enlargement of the ventricular folds is never an issue, except when you
have a cold and the mucosal lining of the throat may be inflamed. Obviously
in this case they are more likely to vibrate, but the enlargement cannot be
controlled to produce ventricular phonation.

4) All kinds of more or less radical pharyngeal constriction seem to be
involved in the production of pharyngeal and epiglottal sounds, as well as
tongue-root retraction and larynx raising. Recent work by John Esling
suggests a revision of traditional phonetic categories is required.

5) Diplophonia usually involves the vibration of two sections of the true
vocal folds out of phase with one another, not necessarily the true and
false folds (though the latter may be involved).The section of the vocal
folds between the vocal processes of the arytenoid cartilages and the
thyroid cartilage (ligamental glottis) may vibrate out of phase with rest of
the folds due to strong medial compression of the folds using the lateral
cricoarytenoid muscles. You *can* get a different phase-relationship with
the true and false vocal folds, as in Mongolian throat singing. Some degree
of diplophonia is actually very common without it being pathological: I have
it myself.

6) Ventricular folds are not used for ventriloquism as such: ventriloquism
'simply' involves producing speech with a fixed jaw and lip position, and
uses substitutions of various sound types for e.g. the labials, which are
otherwise visible.


Mark J. Jones
Department of Linguistics
University of Cambridge


Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>