Phonation (also referred to as voicing) is a term used to describe whether or not the vocal folds are vibrating during speech. There are multiple phonation types, which may or may not be contrastive, depending on the language. Differences in phonation are achieved by adjusting the tension of the vocal folds (Zsiga, 2013, p. 21).
The most common phonation types are voiced and voiceless, which will be discussed below.
- Voiced: if a sound is voiced, this means that the vocal folds are vibrating during speech. It is possible to feel when you are voicing during articulation by placing your fingers on your larynx; if you feel vibrations that means the sound is voiced.
- Voiceless: voiceless sounds are produced with no vocal fold vibration, where the air can pass freely through the glottis. If a sound is voiceless, you will not feel a vibration on your larynx during speech.