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Speech Is Created By Physical Action

So many people think of speech as an ethereal activity or thing because it springs from the need to communicate located in the heart or mind. But the actual speech act is from beginning to end a grounded physical activity. Actual speech is created by the movement of breath over the vocal chords. Breath moved out of the lungs by muscular action that begins with slight muscular activity right down in the legs that moves up into the torso, engaging the sphincter muscles, the abdominals and the intercostals that lifts your intestines and organs to apply pressure on the bottom and sides of the lungs. Then as air moves over the vocal chords delicate muscles attached to the vocal chords spring into action and control the movement of the chords and the related production of vibrations. These vibrations are then amplified in the body’s cavities and then when they enter the mouth riding on that wave of air, they are shaped into sounds and words by the muscular activity of the tongue and lips which spring into action. All in all, a very physical activity!  

So when you approach a text to speak it, by all means do mountains of homework on the content and emotional / intellectual life of the piece, but before you try to speak it make very sure your body is free to do so.  Make sure you are physically ready to release all the homework through and using your physical being, understanding how your physical body works to make unobstructed and full, clear sound. 

© Donald Woodburn

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