Uttering a spoken word (or any sound, really) starts with breath. The forming of noise is caused by the passing of air through the larynx in the middle of your throat and over two folds of muscles known as the vocal chords. These vocal chords vibrate, emitting a sound known to us as the human voice. After traveling through the larynx (or “voice box”) air then travels out through the upper part of the throat (the “pharynx”) and into the oral and nasal areas of your head. Here the sound originating from your larynx is modified and amplified, perhaps being formed into recognisable sounds associated with speech or song. All the components of your mouth and nasal passages influence the sound of speech as it is heard. Teeth, gums, jaws, lips, roof of the mouth and of course the tongue all play their part in the finished product. But it is breathing, the drawing in of air, that is the start of the speaking process. Air is sucked in through our nose and mouth, fills our lungs, and is then expelled through our throat owing to a constriction of our rib cage and diaphragm. When the dome of your diaphragm moves up it pushes air out of your lungs and through your speaking mechanism. Learning to breathe correctly will do much to enhance your voice right from the very start of the process. Once you have mastered the art of controlled and sustained breathing much of your battle has been won. Now to refine the sound that leaves your lips! Excerpt From: Mark Porter. “The Way With Words.” iBooks. This discussion is continued in detail in “The Way With Words”, by Mark Porter.