Basis of articulation

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In phonetics the basis of articulation is the default position or standard settings of a speaker's organs of articulation when ready to speak.

Different languages each have their own basis of articulation, which means that native speakers will share a certain position of tongue, lips, jaw, possibly even uvula or larynx, when preparing to speak. These standard settings enable them to produce the sounds and prosody of their native language most efficiently. Different accents within a given language may have their own characteristic basis of articulation, resulting in one accent being perceived as, e.g., more 'nasal', 'velarized' or 'guttural' than another.

Non-native speakers typically find the basis of articulation one of the greatest challenges in acquiring a foreign language's pronunciation. Speaking with the basis of articulation of their own native language results in a foreign accent, even if the individual sounds of the target language are produced correctly.

See also[edit]


  • Vockeradt, Werner. Die Deutsche und die Englische Artikulationsbasis. Doctoral Dissertation, Greifswald 1925.
  • Eisen, Barbara. Phonetische Aspekte zwischensprachlicher Interferenz: Untersuchungen zur Artikulationsbasis an Häsitationspartikeln nicht-nativer Sprecher des Deutschen. Frankfurt/M. etc.: Verlag Peter Lang 2001.