Lisp & Articulation

Articulation is the movement of the articulators that create speech sounds by mediation of the air flow.  These articulators include:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Teeth
  • Cheeks
  • Hard palate
  • Soft palate
  • Glottis (vocal folds).

Movements with these articulators change the shape of the vocal tract (larynx, pharynx, oral cavity and ending at the lips) to produce speech sounds. Each sound is produced from the vocal tract length and shape this results in differing shaped resonating cavity.

The tongue is the most versatile articulator in the whole vocal tract. It forms all vowel sounds with the help of the lips for the rounded vowels and most of the consonants with secondary articulators being the soft, hard palate and teeth.  Lips are important in the production of certain consonants and most of the back vowels.

Lisps are also known as sigmatisms which often produce unclear speech due to incorrect articulations.  They are described by the articulators which are used such as:

  • Interdental lisp when the tongue protrudes between the teeth. Dentalised is with the tongue tip touches the front teeth
  • Lateral lisp where the air flows over the sides of the tongue
  • Nasal lisp occurs when the air steam is either partly or fully directed through the nasal cavity
  • Trident lisp is a high frequency withte air steam being forced onto a hard surface
  • Palatal lisp sounds are made withthe middle of the tongue coming into contact with the soft palate.

Myofunctional disorders which involve behaviours and patterns created by inappropriate muscle function and incorrect habits involving the tongue, lips and jaws have the potential to affect speech production due to how the articulators articulate.

A therapy programme can help with articulation and lisps by improving the resting posture of the lips and the tongue as well as addressing the functional patterns of the stomganthic. All age ranges may find benefits from the child requiring stimulation for speech sounds to the elderly who may have suffered from other aliments which can effect speech such as a stroke or neurological deterioration.  Interdisciplinary care may be required in some instances such as speech language pathologist, cranial worker.