Speech Mechanisms

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Speech Mechanisms


the conventional term for the system of psychophysiological prerequisites that enable a human being to make meaningful utterances and to understand another’s speech.

Speech mechanisms are based on physiological systems that develop in man as a result of object-directed activity and association with other people, and that are impossible without certain innate abilities and skills (for example, proper coordination of articulation, syllable-formation, and correct breathing). The systemic localization of speech functions in the cerebral cortex makes possible the different psychophysiological conditionality for the same (as regards linguistic structure) speech utterances. Speech mechanisms are studied by the physiology and psychology of speech; and, in terms of their linguistic structure of utterances, they are studied by psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics.


Vygotskii, L. S. Izbrannye psikhologicheskie issledovaniia. Moscow, 1956.
Zhinkin, N. I. Mekhanizmy rechL Moscow, 1958.
Luriia, A. R. Mozg ipsikhicheskieprotsessy, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1963–70.
Luriia, A. R. Vysshie korkovye funktsiicheloveka, 2nded. Moscow, 1969.
Leont’ev, A. A. Psikholingvisticheskie edinitsy i porozhdenie rechevogo vyskazyvaniia. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The neurological basis of speech motor control has remained unknown until now because scientists cannot study speech mechanisms in animals and because non-invasive imaging methods lack the ability to resolve the very rapid time course of articulator movements, which change in hundredths of seconds.
The brain is not able to process the different components of the speech mechanisms creating disconnection between the thought process and verbal ability.
They are involved in very serious research into trying to help people communicate who can't speak because of a stroke, illness or damage to speech mechanisms.
Prof Robert Knight, one of the researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, said: This is huge for patients who have damage to their speech mechanisms because of a stroke or Lou Gehrigs disease and cant speak.
He suggested that this cell death could lead to a 'glitch' in the speech mechanisms, 'blocking' the ability to pronounce certain sounds and causing the stammer.
Although stuttering is believed to have some connection with neurological coordination or timing of the speech mechanisms, it is not an emotional problem or nervous disorder (National Stuttering Association [NSA], 1999).
When a young child has difficulty with a task, the natural tendency is to push harder or use force, but this increased use of force causes the speech mechanisms to block, making it even more difficult for the child to say the word or sound.
Many people who stutter consult speech-language pathologists (SLPs) for assistance because these professionals are experts in the anatomy, physiology, and motor systems of the speech mechanism and can provide education and behavior modification to achieve greater control over speech (Cooper, 1997).
Taking a narrower view than that of MacNeilage and his collegues, Tomasello says specialized speech mechanisms, not language in general, are all that have been located in the left hemisphere.

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