Basis of articulation, also known as articulatory setting
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Basis of articulation
In phonetics, the basis of articulation, also
known as articulatory setting,
default position or standard settings of a
speaker's organs of articulation when
ready to speak. Different languages each
have their own basis of articulation, which
means that native speakers will share a
certain position of tongue, lips, jaw,
possibly even uvula or larynx, when
preparing to speak. These standard
settings enable them to produce the
sounds and prosody of their native
language more efﬁciently.
suggests thinking of it in terms of having a
"gear" for English, another for French, and
so on depending on which language is
being learned; in the classroom, when
working on pronunciation, the ﬁrst thing
the learner must do is to think themselves
into the right gear before starting on
gives a detailed account of how this idea
arose and how Honikman has been
credited with its invention despite a
considerable history of prior study.
Different accents within a given language
may have their own characteristic basis of
articulation, resulting in one accent being
perceived as, e.g., more 'nasal', 'velarized'
or 'guttural' than another. According to
Cruttenden, "The articulatory setting of a
language or dialect may differ from GB
[General British]. So some languages like
Spanish may have a tendency to hold the
tongue more forward in the mouth, while
others like Russian may have a tendency
to hold it further back in the mouth.
Nasalization may be characteristic of
many speakers of American English, while
denasal voice ... is frequently said to occur
A more detailed exposition
can be read in Gili Gaya (1956).
native speakers typically ﬁnd the basis of
articulation one of the greatest challenges
in acquiring a foreign language's
pronunciation. Speaking with the basis of
articulation of their own native language
results in a foreign accent, even if the
individual sounds of the target language
are produced correctly.
The term Basis of articulation is used in a
slightly different sense to refer to a
hypothesized articulatory "baseline" which
is neutral in respect of individual vowels
and consonants. This is done in the
phonetic framework section of Chomsky
and Halle (1968) for the purposes of
explaining various distinctive features in
terms of their deviation from the neutral
More recently, Odden has
written "...some features are characterized
in terms of the 'neutral position' which is a
conﬁguration that the vocal tract is
assumed to have immediately prior to
speaking. The neutral position,
approximately that of the vowel [ɛ], deﬁnes
relative movement of the tongue”
not clear if this should be taken to refer
only to English.
Index of phonetics articles
Manner of articulation
Place of articulation
1. Mompean, J. A. (2003). Pedagogical
tools for teaching articulatory setting.
In M. J. Solé & D. Recasens (eds.),
Proceedings of the 15th International
Congress of Phonetic Sciences.
1603–1606. Adelaide: Causal
2. Mompean. "Voice and Linguistic
Background" . Retrieved 3 April 2016.
3. Celce-Murcia, D. Brinton and J.
Goodwin (1996) Teaching
Pronunciation, Cambridge University
Press pp 27-8
4. Honikman, B. (1964) 'Articulatory
Settings' in In Honour of Daniel Jones,
eds. D. Abercrombie et al, Longman,
5. Jenner, B. (2001) 'Articulatory
setting:genealogies of an idea',
Historiographia Linguistica 28:121-141
6. Cruttenden, A. (2014) Gimson's
Pronunciation of English, Routledge, p.
7. Gili Gaya, Samuel (1956). "Base de
articulación". Elementos de fonética
general (in Spanish) (5th ed.). Madrid:
Editorial Gredos. English translation
by Emilio Márquez.
8. Messum, Piers (2010). "Understanding
and teaching the English articulatory
setting". Speak Out! (IATEFL
Pronunciation Special Interest Group
Newsletter) (43): 20–24.
9. Chomsky, N. and Halle, M. (1968) The
Sound Pattern of English
10. Odden, D. (2005) Introducing
Phonology, Cambridge University
Press, p. 136.
Vockeradt, Werner. Die Deutsche und die
Englische Artikulationsbasis. Doctoral
Dissertation, Greifswald 1925.
Eisen, Barbara. Phonetische Aspekte
etc.: Verlag Peter Lang 2001.
Gick, B., I Wilson, K. Koch, C. Cook
(2004) 'Language-speciﬁc articulatory
settings: evidence from inter-utterance
rest position', Phonetica, 61:220-233
Kerr, J. (2000) 'Articulatory setting and
voice production: issues in accent
modiﬁcation', Prospect (Macquarie
University, Sydney) 15(2):4-15
Laver, J. (1978) 'The concept of
articulatory settings: an historical
survey', Historiographia Linguistica,5,1-
Laver, J. (1980) The Phonetic Description
of Voice Quality, Cambridge University
Wilson, I (2006) Articulatory Settings of
French and English Monolingual and
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