Linguistics Speech Production
Eryk Walczak
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 February 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0217


Speech production is one of the most complex human activities. It involves coordinating numerous muscles and complex cognitive processes. The area of speech production is related to Articulatory Phonetics, Acoustic Phonetics and Speech Perception, which are all studying various elements of language and are part of a broader field of Linguistics. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the current topic, it is usually studied on several levels: neurological, acoustic, motor, evolutionary, and developmental. Each of these levels has its own literature but in the vast majority of speech production literature, each of these elements will be present. The large body of relevant literature is covered in the speech perception entry on which this bibliography builds upon. This entry covers general speech production mechanisms and speech disorders. However, speech production in second language learners or bilinguals has special features which were described in separate bibliography on Cross-Language Speech Perception and Production. Speech produces sounds, and sounds are a topic of study for Phonology.


As mentioned in the introduction, speech production tends to be described in relation to acoustics, speech perception, neuroscience, and linguistics. Because of this interdisciplinarity, there are not many published textbooks focusing exclusively on speech production. Guenther 2016 and Levelt 1993 are the exceptions. The former has a stronger focus on the neuroscientific underpinnings of speech. Auditory neuroscience is also extensively covered by Schnupp, et al. 2011 and in the extensive textbook Hickok and Small 2015. Rosen and Howell 2011 is a textbook focusing on signal processing and acoustics which are necessary to understand by any speech scientist. A historical approach to psycholinguistics which also covers speech research is Levelt 2013.

  • Guenther, F. H. 2016. Neural control of speech. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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    This textbook provides an overview of neural processes responsible for speech production. Large sections describe speech motor control, especially the DIVA model (co-authored by Guenther). It includes extensive coverage of behavioral and neuroimaging studies of speech as well as speech disorders and ties them together with a unifying theoretical framework.

  • Hickok, G., and S. L. Small. 2015. Neurobiology of language. London: Academic Press.

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    This voluminous textbook edited by Hickok and Small covers a wide range of topics related to neurobiology of language. It includes a section devoted to speaking which covers neurobiology of speech production, motor control perspective, neuroimaging studies, and aphasia.

  • Levelt, W. J. M. 1993. Speaking: From intention to articulation. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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    A seminal textbook Speaking is worth reading particularly for its detailed explanation of the author’s speech model, which is part of the author’s language model. The book is slightly dated, as it was released in 1993, but chapters 8–12 are especially relevant to readers interested in phonetic plans, articulating, and self-monitoring.

  • Levelt, W. J. M. 2013. A history of psycholinguistics: The pre-Chomskyan era. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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    Levelt published another important book detailing the development of psycholinguistics. As its title suggests, it focuses on the early history of discipline, so readers interested in historical research on speech can find an abundance of speech-related research in that book. It covers a wide range of psycholinguistic specializations.

  • Rosen, S., and P. Howell. 2011. Signals and Systems for Speech and Hearing. 2d ed. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

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    Rosen and Howell provide a low-level explanation of speech signals and systems. The book includes informative charts explaining the basic acoustic and signal processing concepts useful for understanding speech science.

  • Schnupp, J., I. Nelken, and A. King. 2011. Auditory neuroscience: Making sense of sound. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

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    A general introduction to speech concepts with main focus on neuroscience. The textbook is linked with a website which provides a demonstration of described phenomena.

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