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Can someone who has a damaged larynx, which does not allow them to talk, still create a tune when they whistle?

I know that the larynx is what allows a person to manipulate their pitch and volume, but whistling sounds are just air making a noise as they are through the lips.

Would a person with a damaged larynx be able to whistle physically, but it would just be a toneless noise?

If this is so, is there any situation where a human would not be able to talk, but could still whistle with a tune and understand the speech of others perfectly? (i.e. having not suffered brain damage or are deaf)

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  • $\begingroup$ Whistles, trees and other objects can whistle with a wide range of frequencies... $\endgroup$ – Mr. Mascaro Mar 20 '15 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ This is an entirely new question. Perhaps you could roll back these edits, restore the original question and pose this question as a new one. Changing a question entirely into a new question is not recommended, the.more since it has been answered already, this answer has been upvoted and quite extensively edited. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 20 '15 at 23:17
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Sounds such as certain phonemes are made merely with the use of air flow and movement of the lips or tongue, without the need for action of the vocal chords. Think of 'f', 's', 't', k in the English language. These are called unvoiced phonemes in phoniatrics (see the phonemic chart). Also, clicking sounds and whistling can be made without use of the vocal chords.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you provide some references that this really works? $\endgroup$ – Nandor Poka Mar 20 '15 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ I sometimes fell the same, yet what I think simple basic stuff for me might not be for someone else.. also for me pronouncing letter b does resonate my vocal cords unlike the other letters you listed. In the link you provided B is listed as Voiced Consonants..... it's a bit controversal I think. $\endgroup$ – Nandor Poka Mar 20 '15 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ @poka.nandor - auch, the 'b' was incorrect (only without the 'e' it is unvoiced), thanks! I added a ref to a chart. Thanks. Is this OK? Mostly I seek journal papers, but this is so basic that it is textbook stuff and I don't have any phoniatric stuff around I'm afraid. I used to work at an ENT department, that's why it was so natural for me to answer without backup :) Thanks for the downvote, that was necessary (and for the undownvote :-). $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 20 '15 at 12:10
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    $\begingroup$ Thx for the update :) I think by the way that voiced and unvoiced phonemes might be a little language specific. $\endgroup$ – Nandor Poka Mar 20 '15 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ @poka.nandor - yes! Next edit underway :) $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 20 '15 at 12:16
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Yes, as long as the person is able to blow air and 'shape' it using their tongue+lips, a person can whistle; even if it means this person lacks the ability to create the vibrational patterns necessary to talk.

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