Speech is produced by air from the lungs being modified by all speech organs above the lungs: the glottis, pharynx, nose, tongue, and lips. The individual sound is identified by the narrowing of these organs. If we see the tongue as the active articulator, the place which does not move can be called the passive articulator. Labels refer to the place where the closure or narrowing occurs, which means that the name normally refers to the passive articulator.

The speech sounds often have their names from the Latin name of the vocal organ:

Nasal sounds: through nose (velum down)
Oral sounds: through mouth (velum up)
Stops: full oral closure
Fricatives: partial oral closure (friction)
Approximants: narrowing (no friction)

Labial: from labium, lips active
Dental: from dents, teeth active
Alveolar: Alveolus, teeth ridge active
Palatal: Palate, hard palate active
Velar: Velum, soft palate active
Glottal: Glottis, vocal cords active

Different regions of the tongue could be identified by name and they are associated with particular sounds. These are:

    * the back - opposite the soft palate
    * the centre - opposite the meeting point of hard and soft palate
    * the front - opposite the hard palate
    * the blade - the tapering area facing the ridge of teeth
    * the tip - the extreme end of the tongue