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The speech is the process of articulation of language, mainly in larger cohesive units, and for the purpose of communication . The concept of speaking goes beyond the pure articulation of sounds and takes a more comprehensive perspective on the realization of language. It can also affect aspects such as the existence of a conveyed content, the self-presentation of a speaker in front of an audience or speaking as an artistic expression.

Speaking as a kind of utterance is in contrast to singing ; Speaking voice and singing voice differ acoustically with regard to the frequency ranges that occur . In contrast to singing, speaking can also be voiceless (whispering).

The form of communication in spoken language is in contrast to written language . In a figurative sense, the term speaking is also extended to forms of communication outside of spoken languages, e.g. B. on signing with the hands in a sign language .

The scientific discipline that deals specifically with the study of speech is called speech science (as opposed to linguistics ).

Basic Laws of Speech

Edith Wolf and Egon Aderhold have identified the following basic laws of speaking: The speaker must be able to consciously control and change the tension in his body. Articulatory and vocal errors occur when there is an increased expenditure of force or an undervoltage during the speech act. In order to be able to perform controlled speech movements, neurological and muscular abilities of the joints in the arms, hands and facial muscles must be given.

Articulatory phonetics deals with the articulation of sounds by a human speaker. It also teaches the structure and function of the speech apparatus and its use in the production of language. The air pressure required for sound is generated in the lungs by breathing. In the larynx are the vocal folds , which create the vibrations in the air that are responsible for the sound. Finally, the pharynx, mouth and nose (the vocal tract ) act depending on the position of z. B. The palate or tongue as a filter that further modifies the sound. The articulatory phonetics is particularly interested in the role and position of the moving parts in the larynx and mouth, that tongue, lips, jaw, soft palate (velum) with the uvula (uvula), throat and glottis . Depending on the position of these organs of articulation, different linguistic sounds are generated. Phonetics speaks of different places or places of articulation when describing the places where (parts of) the tongue and / or lips are when consonants are generated. So one speaks z. B. with the sounds [b] or [m] of bilabial sounds, because here the upper and lower lip are mainly involved in the sound formation. For other consonants such as B. [d] or [g] the position of the tongue plays a role (dental, behind the maxillary teeth, or velar, in the soft palate).

The speaker's voice

Each speaker has an individual and natural speaking pitch. A prerequisite for meaningful and meaningful speech is a conscious willingness to communicate on the part of the speaker. Through a trained self-perception, the speaker can perceive and express the smallest changes with his speech organs.

Coherent speaking

Coherent speaking requires a certain directionality from the speaker as well as a corresponding reception and spatial reference. Humans are involved in speaking on many levels. Speaking can therefore be described as a complex process.

A speech disorder or a speech defect is a disorder of the thought production of speech. Language structure and ability to speak are impaired. In contrast, the speech disorder primarily affects the motor generation of sounds. Speech and speech disorders can also occur together.

Inner speaking

Inner speaking is a silent form of speaking that is believed to be related to thinking, e.g. B. the control of attention serves. There are different definitions and conceptions of inner speaking. Among other things, this concept was discussed extensively in the 1920s and 1930s by Lev Vygotsky , a Russian developmental and language psychologist. Vygotsky, influenced by the work of the Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget , put forward a theory on the development and function of inner speech. The main idea is that inner speaking develops out of outer, social speaking and thereby changes its form and function compared to outer speaking: It becomes silent, syntactically shortened and semantically denser and ultimately no longer serves to communicate with other people.

Defined as an internal expression of language accompanied by the muscles of language , internal speaking has been experimentally investigated since around 1930. The muscle activities were demonstrated by means of mechanical and electromyographic measurements.

A presentation of historical research on inner speech as well as a critical examination of it can be found in current psycholinguistic works, for example by Sibylle Wahmhoff and Anke Werani.

Hypotheses on the neurophysiology of inner speech

The working memory model according to A. Baddalay assumes the existence of a "phonological loop", a "central executive function", which also includes an attention center , to explain verbal decision-making functions and short-term memory, and the existence of a "pictorial-spatial notepad".

The "phonological loop" consists of an "echo-like" short-term memory, also called short-term memory , and a recall unit. The short-term memory receives information for 1–2 seconds and is located in the Wernicke Center . The recall unit receives information by repeating it through internal speaking - its activity has been demonstrated in the Broca area . Nerve fibers from the Broca region control the tongue and larynx muscles. These are important muscles for language formation. The recalled information of the short-term memory can be deliberately and attentively changed by means of the "central executive" and thus become a valid, verbal expression.

The exchange of information with long-term memory and its emotional components also takes place in short-term memory. The “pictorial-spatial notepad” contains visual ideas and local orientations. In principle, both functions work like the phonological loop: with optical memory and a recall function for images.

The “central executive function” controls both automatic and controlled behavior and is located in the frontal lobe . The automatic behavior is based on well-learned habits and schemes. These habits and schemes require an “overarching attention system” that monitors behavior and, if necessary, replaces an old scheme with new, better adapted behavior.

Hypotheses on inner speech and cognitive therapy for depression and anxiety

According to Aaron T. Beck , inner speaking in thought form is responsible for the development of depression and anxiety. These automatic thoughts develop, according to Beck, from unconscious basic assumptions ( schemata ) of the patient, which are activated in the current situation. In cognitive bias (clinical psychology) , logical and empirical errors lead to new experiences being interpreted according to the basic assumptions. No corrective experiences are made.

Speak in your sleep

“Speaking in your sleep” is called somniloquie . This includes one or more clearly formulated words or mumbled words in sleep that are incomprehensible but clearly convey the impression of language, as well as affective, non-linguistic sounds such as laughing, crying, humming or whimpering.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Speaking  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: speak  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. TA Hall: _A Introduction_. In: TU Berlin: Institute for Language and Communication. de Gruyter, 2000, accessed August 22, 2019 .
  2. ^ Lev S. Vygotskij: Thinking and Speaking . Edited and translated from Russian by Joachim Lompscher and Georg Rückriem. Beltz, Weinheim / Basel 1934/2002.
  3. S. Wahmhoff: Inner speech. Psycholinguistic studies on aphasic patients. Beltz, Weinheim 1980.
  4. A. Werani: Inner speaking. Results of an evidence search. Lehmanns Media, Berlin 2011.
  5. Arthur M. Arkin: Sleep Talking: Psychology and Psychophysiology . Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ 1981, ISBN 0-89859-031-0 (English).