Test: ACT English

Speech production is a complicated and complex process, that requires the coordination of three different systems: respiration, phonation, and articulation. A deficit in any of these systems will negatively impact the quality of one’s speech.

We all know that respiration, or breathing, is necessary for life, but have you ever thought about it’s usefulness for speech? Try to talk while holding you’re breath and you will see what I mean. Exhalation provides a stream of air that the next two systems shape into what many people like to call speech.

Phonation happens in your larynx, or voice box. A pair of muscles form a shelf-like structure on either side of your larynx, and this pair of muscles is known as your vocal folds. As you exhale during speech, your vocal fold muscles contract and move towards each other. They vibrate as air passes between them, creating a buzzing sound, and this is a process that is known as phonation. The word “phonation” comes from the ancient Greek word for sound.

Finally, the last stage is articulation. At this final stage, you move your tongue, lips, and jaw to affect the way vibrating air leaves your mouth. For example, when you say the “b” sound, you need to squeeze your lips together to stop the airflow before opening your lips again. For the “v” sound, you touch your top teeth against your lower lip and force air through between your teeth and lip.


Assuming all of the following are true, which would be the best concluding sentence for this passage?

By coordinating the three stages of speech, humans can produce over 200 words per minute without even thinking about their respiration, phonation, or articulation.

Speech is a complicated process and I’m surprised that anyone ever learns to talk.

I guess you could say the fourth stage of speaking is listening, because what is the point of talking if no one is listening to you?

Of course, not all sounds involve your lips; these are just some examples.

1/19 questions


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