The Nature of Speech
To the majority of us, speech is as casual a function as breathing or walking. We never think very much about it. Communication seems to require no greater skill than merely thinking aloud and listening to the thoughts of the other person. A moment's consideration will convince anyone that this attitude of casual acceptance is not merited by the facts. There is probably no human behavior so intricately and beautifully coördinated as speech. But we learned our speech skills early in life; we have never watched them in action; we use them constantly and habitually as communication-tools rather than as artistic skills. Therefore, we marvel whenever we find another mortal having any difficulty with speech. This attitude is probably responsible for the common belief that the speech defective must be deficient in mentality or emotional maturity. This belief soon disappears when the complexity of the speech process is understood.
Although the beginning student of speech correction cannot hope to understand the detailed mechanics of speech, he must have sufficient knowledge of the physics, physiology, and gross anatomy involved in speech to recognize abnormality when he sees it. He must be able to recognize malformation and malfunction of the articulatory apparatus. He must understand the workings of the structures of respiration, phonation, and resonance sufficiently to know what