Where does your tongue stay when you’re not speaking? If you’re an English-speaker, it’s behind the top front teeth. If you’re a Russian-speaker, it’s on the bottom of your mouth, lying flat.
I JUST FREAKING CONSCIOUSLY CHECKED AND TRIED TO MAKE IT LAY FLAT BUT NO, IT’S SERIOUSLY AT THE TOP OF MY MOUTH. I DON’T LIKE THIS
Sure, let’s give this thing a whirl. It’s going to be long, so here’s the TL;DR version:
We don’t have a complete idea of why exactly there are different “articulatory settings” (how you place your mouth bits) for different languages, but it’s been remarked upon by scholars for centuries. The data thus far suggests to me that we learn how to set our mouths in speech from the input of the language around us, just like we acquire most of the rest of our grammars. What underlies that knowledge, though, isn’t fully understood yet, but thanks to testing techniques like ultrasound and optical tracking, we’re getting some real good data. With more research in this area, the hows and whys of articulatory settings may well become clearer over the next decade. So that’s something to look forward to. ^_^
Many more details below the cut!
Whoa!! I never thought about this, and now I sort of can’t stop feeling my own tongue inside my mouth and it’s weird! D:
also super interesting though