By Mark Frauenfelder at 9:48 am Wed, Dec 9, 2009
Two animated GIFs showing how the lips, jaw, and tongue form speech. I didn't know people's tongues were so huge.
X-ray videos of people talking
You’re kidding, right? My tongue barely fits in my mouth.
Once, in a Linguistics class, I saw an X-ray video of people talking in three different languages. It was striking how different the movement of the tongue was. I remember that when a person spoke French, the tongue moves in sharp, fast motions, snapping from position to position. In English, it flops around like a stranded whale. Very odd.
It’s beautiful in a mechanical sort of way. All made of soft, flexible components anchored to the skeleton, all moving together in precise, systematic ways in order to convey a coherent auditory message. I wonder how much longer it will be before we have the technology to replicate this kind of machinery with synthetic materials? Surely we’re not too far from it today.
What do ya bet those lips are so opaque due to lead in her lipstick?
One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen was a old Veteran’s Hospital film shown in a linguistics class of a man who had had half of his face shot off. He was able to remove one of his cheeks and demonstrate the extremely complex behaviours of speech – how the tongue dances around the mouth while we move out lips, breathe and swallow. As I remember, most people left the room because it was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever witnessed. If anyone has a link to this video, I’d be much obliged.
Damnit Mark! You slashdotted it! :)
Come now, surely you are aware that a great many English gentlemen can quite easily lick their own eyebrows whilst simultaneously breathing though their ears?
Ask any French Lady!
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