Articulation place

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Important anatomical structures and resonance spaces shown in the sagittal plane . The human vocal tract with the areas in which various sounds are formed.

Places of articulation: 1. exolabial 2. endolabial 3. dental 4. alveolar 5. postalveolar 6. prepalatal 7. palatal 8. velar 9. uvular 10. pharyngeal 11. glottal 12. epiglottal 13. radical 14. posterodorsal 15. anterodorsal 16. laminal 17. apical 18. sublaminal
The movement of the vocal cords and various anatomically important structures (shown in the breathing position ); A: thyroid cartilage , B: cricoid cartilage , C: actuating cartilage , D: vocal folds
Positions of the glottis in various positions, such as the anterior cartilage and vocal cords; A: glottic closure, B: phonation position, C: whisper position, D: breath position; E: breathing position or resting position; Q: deep breathing position

In phonetics, the place of articulation (the point of articulation ) denotes those relatively immobile places in the oral cavity that represent the goal of movement for the relatively mobile organs of articulation (tongue, lower lip, glottis) when articulating speech sounds. The place of articulation is also called the passive , the organ of articulation, the active articulator .


Sounds arise from the formation of constrictions or partial or total closures between the articulation point and the articulation organ. In the broadest sense, the position at which the constriction is narrowest is also called the articulation point.

By specifying the type of articulation , the place of articulation, the organ of articulation and the presence and absence of voice, consonants can be adequately described to some extent

Sounds with the same place of articulation, such as [⁠ p ⁠] and [⁠ m ⁠] is called homorganisch or homorgan .


The places of articulation

Sounds can be differentiated according to their places of articulation:

  • A labial (exolabial, endolabial) is formed on the upper lip . A bilabial with both lips.
    • Examples: [b] and [p] in German .
  • A dental is formed with the teeth (lat. Dentes ).
    • Examples: [f] and [v] in German, the th sounds in English .
  • An alveolar is formed on the dental dam, the alveoli .
    • Examples: [t], [d], [s], [z], but also [l] in German.
  • A postalveolar is formed behind the dental dam.
    • Example: [ʃ] in German (the voiceless sch sound).
  • A prepalatal is formed in front of the palate (Latin palatum durum ).
  • A palatal is formed on the anterior, hard palate.
    • Examples: the [j] or the [ç] (that is the ch sound after the front vowels) in German
  • A velar is formed on the soft palate (lat. Velum palatinum ).
    • Examples: the [k], [g], [ŋ] (the ng sound) or [x] (this is the ch sound after non-front vowels) in German
  • A uvular is formed with the participation of the uvula (lat. Uvula ).
    • Example: the suppository r ([ʀ]) in standard German.
  • A pharyngal is in the throat ( the pharynx formed).
    • Examples: [ʕ] and [ħ], which occur in Arabic
  • A epiglottal is the epiglottis ( epiglottis formed).
    • Examples: [ʢ] and [ʡ]
  • A glottal is formed on the vocal apparatus, the glottis .
    • Examples: [h] and [ʔ] ( voiceless glottal plosive , also crackling loud , which is spoken in German before accented vowels).


In many languages ​​there are sounds that form locks in several places at the same time. An example would be the English [w], as it occurs in the word water , [ˈwɑɾɚ] ( AE ) or [ˈwɔːtʰə] ( BE ). This sound creates a narrowing between the lips (labial) and at the velum (velar). The sound is formed accordingly labio-velar .

Sound designations according to the organ and place of articulation
designation Articulating organ Articulation place example
bilabial Lower lip (labium inferius) Upper lip (labium superius) [⁠ p ⁠] [⁠ b ⁠] [⁠ m ⁠]
labiodental bottom lip upper incisors [⁠ f ⁠] [⁠ v ⁠]
dental Tongue sheet upper incisors [⁠ ⁠]
alveolar Tip of the tongue (apex linguae) Tooth dam (alveolus dentalis) [⁠ d ⁠]
postalveolar Tongue sheet hard palate (palatum durum) [⁠ ʃ ⁠] [⁠ ʒ ⁠]
retroflex Tip of tongue Hard palate [⁠ ɻ ⁠]
palatal Back of the tongue (dorsum linguae) Hard palate [⁠ ç ⁠]
velar Back of the tongue soft palate, soft palate (velum) [⁠ k ⁠] [⁠ ɡ ⁠]
uvular Back of the tongue Uvula (uvula) [⁠ ʀ ⁠]
pharyngal Tongue root (radix linguae) Throat wall (pharynx) [⁠ ħ ⁠]
glottal Vocal folds Glottis (glottis) [⁠ h ⁠]


  • Ladefoged, Peter: Vowels and Consonants: An Introduction to the Sounds of Languages . Blackwell, Oxford 2001, ISBN 1-4051-2459-8 (English).
  • Ladefoged, Peter: Elements of Acoustic Phonetics . University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1996, ISBN 0-226-46764-3 (English).
  • Ladefoged Peter and Ian Maddieson: The Sounds of the World's Languages . Blackwell Publishing, Oxford 1996, ISBN 0-631-19815-6 (English).
  • Mayer, Jörg: Introduction to Phonetics . Ms, University of Potsdam 2005.
  • Pompino-Marschall, Bernd: Introduction to Phonetics . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York 2003, ISBN 3-11-018020-0 .
  • Reetz, Henning: Articulatory and acoustic phonetics . Scientific publishing house Trier, Trier 2001, ISBN 3-11-018020-0 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Place of articulation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Articulation point  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations