I learned from a linguistics course that at birth, the larynx is situated up high, and as the infant grows, it drops gradually. Which makes speech easier and also chokes likelier. Materials talking about this phenomenon are scarce, my searches yielded almost nothing. Edit: I used ddg and google to search for a number of combinations of [larynx & its synonym] [drop, lower, etc.] [infant/child] [choke] [speech]... Each time I explored the links in at least the 1st result page but couldn't find satisfactory answers.

Before all of these searches, I've already known that the larynx contains the vocal cords, which control the voicing of our speech. But it being in a higher or lower position in the neck seems to have no effect on the glottis, so why it was stated (in the course) that a lower larynx helps speech easier?

I also knew that choking happens when the epiglottis fails to close when a person swallow, leading to food appearing in the lungs. So how does the larynx being higher or lower have anything to do with changed risk of choking? Edit ends.

My questions:

  • How exactly does a lower larynx make speaking easier? I think it can only make our voice deeper?

  • The same for the choking problem. I can't see how a higher larynx can prevent that. Images or videos will be much appreciated.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Images... will be much appreciated." Finding anatomical illustrations of infant and adult head and neck to compare should answer one of your questions. $\endgroup$ Aug 3 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. This is not simply an answer site, but instead a site that promotes self-learning with some expert help. Consequently, questions that show little or no prior research effort are off-topic on this site as are "homework" questions unless you have shown your attempt at an answer. Please edit your question and tell us where you've looked for answers, what you do know about the topic, and where exactly you still have questions. Please take the tour and consult the help center starting with How to Ask for details. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Aug 3 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ you can start doing your research here, entokey.com/pharyngeal-oral-function-and-speech-production $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 4 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ @John: that link didn't lead me to the answers, but at least I learned about Fairbank the speech scientist who (ironically) actually choked to death - which highlight the importance of the questions even more. $\endgroup$
    – longtry
    Aug 5 at 2:19
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    $\begingroup$ Did you read this: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/1133/…? It's pretty clear about why humans choke more easily. It does not describe why the epiglottis moving lower enables speaking, however, it isn't too difficult to see why not being constrained to doing it's original job would allow it more freedom in other areas. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Aug 5 at 20:30


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