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File:Real-time MRI - Speaking (English).ogv Speech production (English) visualized by Real-time MRI Part of a series on Linguistics OutlineHistoryIndex Subfields[hide] Acquisition Anthropological Applied Computational Discourse analysis Forensic Historical Lexicography Morphology Neurolinguistics Philosophy of language Phonetics Phonology Pragmatics Psycholinguistics Semantics Sociolinguistics Syntax Grammatical Theories[hide] Cognitive Constraint-based Dependency Functional Generative Stochastic Topics[hide] Descriptivism Etymology Internet linguistics LGBT linguistics Linguistic anthropology Origin of language Origin of speech Orthography Prescriptivism Second-language acquisition Structuralism Linguistics portal vte Speech is the vocalized form of communication used by humans and some animals, which is based upon the syntactic combination of items drawn from the lexicon. Each spoken word is created out of the phonetic combination of a limited set of vowel and consonant speech sound units (phonemes). These vocabularies, the syntax that structures them, and their sets of speech sound units differ, creating many thousands of different, and mutually unintelligible, human languages. The vocal abilities that enable humans to produce speech also enable them to sing. A gestural form of human communication exists for the deaf in the form of sign language. Speech in some cultures has become the basis of written language, often one that differs in its vocabulary, syntax and phonetics from its associated spoken one, a situation called diglossia. In addition to its use in communication, it is suggested by some psychologists such as Lev Vygotsky that speech is internally used in mental processes to enhance and organize cognition in the form of an interior monologue. Speech is researched in terms of the speech production and speech perception of the sounds used in vocal language. Other research topics concern speech repetition, the ability to map heard spoken words into the vocalizations needed to recreate them, which plays a key role in vocabulary expansion in children and speech errors. Several academic disciplines study these; including acoustics, psychology, speech pathology, linguistics, cognitive science, communication studies, otolaryngology and computer science. Another area of research is how the human brain in its different areas such as the Broca's area and Wernicke's area underlies speech. It is controversial how far human speech is unique; in that animals also communicate with vocalizations. While none in the wild have comparably large vocabularies, research upon the nonverbal abilities of language trained apes such as Washoe and Kanzi raises the possibility that they might have these capabilities. The evolutionary origins of speech are unknown and subject to much debate and speculation.