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Department of Linguistics

SPH302: Speech Physiology

Laryngeal Anatomy

Topics and References

Listed below are the topics covered in this lecture. Where possible, references to books on the reading list are given for each topic.

The textbook reading for this lecture is:-

  • Seikel et al., chapter 5

Additional readings are:-

  1. Clark and Yallop, section 6.5 (2.6 in 1st edn.)
  2. Hardcastle, chapter 4
  3. Perkins et al., chapter 4
  4. Zemlin, chapter 3, pp125-169
  5. Daniloff, chapter 6, pp176-188

Of the above, the Clark and Yallop reference is the briefest and represents mimimum pre-lecture reading. The Seikel and Zemlin references are the most detailed. The Hardcastle reading would represent the minimum post-lecture reading.

Students should read Clark and Yallop before the lecture, followed by Hardcastle immediately after the lecture. It is highly recommended that students also read either the Seikel or the Zemlin material.

Students are strongly advised to read this material before the lecture on phonation.

Click here to see a series of movie clips illustrating larynx structure and function.

Click here to see some layngeal anatomy slides.

Laryngeal Structure

  1. Overview of Laryngeal Structure
  2. Laryngeal Cartilage Structure
  3. Hyoid Bone
  4. Laryngeal Membranes and Ligaments
  5. Laryngeal Cartilage Movement
  6. Vocal Folds
  7. Lists of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Laryngeal Muscles
  8. Extrinsic Laryngeal Muscles
  9. Intrinsic Laryngeal Muscles:-
    1. Cricothyroid
    2. Arytenoid Muscles


Following this lecture, you should:-

  • Know the overall structure of the larynx and surrounding structures, including the names and locations of the following structures:-
    • Hyoid bone
    • Epiglottis
    • Aryepiglottic folds
    • False Vocal Folds (Ventricular or Vestibular Folds)
    • Laryngeal Ventricle (Ventricle of Morgani)
    • Trachea
  • Know the names and locations of the Laryngeal cartilages, especially:-
    • Thyroid cartilage
    • Cricoid cartilage
    • Arytenoid cartilages
  • Understand the ways in which the Laryngeal cartilages can move, especially:-
    • Tilting of the cricoid and thyroid cartilages
    • Rocking, Gliding (sliding) and Rotation of the Arytenoid cartilages
  • Understand the structure of the vocal folds, especially:-
    • Glottis
    • Cartilaginous versus Membranous Glottis
    • Vocal Ligament
    • Thyroarytenoid muscle (incl. the Vocalis muscle)
    • Insertion points of the thyroarytenoid muscles
    • Adduction versus Abduction of the vocal folds
  • Know how the Extrinsic Laryngeal muscles connect:-
    • The Thyroid and Cricoid cartilages to the Hyoid bone and to the Clavicle and Sternum
    • The hyoid bone to the jaw, tongue and skull
  • Know the names of at least the following extrinsic muscles:-
    • Hyoglossus
    • Digastricus
    • Thyrohyoideus (Thyrohyoid)
    • Sternthyroideus (Sternothyroid)
  • Understand how the extrinsic laryngeal muscles can act to raise or lower the larynx
  • Understand how movement of the tongue and hyoid bone can affect the position of the larynx
  • Understand how the Cricothyroid muscle acts to tilt the thyroid or cricoid cartilages
  • Understand how the action of the Cricothyroid muscle affects the length of the vocal folds
  • Know the names, locations and functions of the following Intrinsic Laryngeal Muscles which are attached to the Arytenoid cartilages:-
    • Posterior Cricoarytenoid
    • Lateral Cricoarytenoid
    • Transverse Arytenoid
    • Oblique Arytenoid
    • Aryepiglottic
  • Understand how the activity of the muscles attached to the arytenoid cartilages affects the position of the vocal folds

Following this lecture, you should know the answers to the following questions:-

  • Provide an overview of laryngeal anatomy, outlining briefly the structure of the laryngeal cartilages, the vocal folds, the intrinsic muscles and the extrinsic muscles.
  • Examine the structure and function of the extrinsic laryngeal muscles and the structures to which they are attached. Explain how the position of the larynx can be influenced by the movement of the structures to which the extrinsic muscles are attached.
  • Explain the ways in which the cricoid, thyroid and arytenoid cartilages can move and how this movement is controlled by the intrinsic laryngeal muscles. What affect do these movements have upon the vocal folds?