Creating Oral-Nasal Resonance Balance

By Pam Marshalla

Notice how Hattie is not looking at the camera? She didn't even realize I was taking her picture. Much better than the goofy fake smiles I usually get with a DSLR.

Q: My client sounds hypernasal on certain phonemes. How do I work on this?

This question is a regular one that comes into my office. It used to be that textbooks on articulation from Van Riper’s era dealt with this topic quite succinctly, but now with our over-focus on phonology and out downplay on all things phonetic, we seem to be forgetting these basic old-time procedures.

I will have a chapter of methods on this in my next book, The Marshalla GuideBut until then, let me reiterate what Van Riper said––

Van Riper (1939, 1947) suggested five specific avenues of treatment: (1) Get the soft palate to move, (2) Teach the client to direct the air stream outward through the mouth opening, (3) Increase the mobility of the jaw, lips, tongue, and cheeks, (4) Teach the client to discriminate between the correct and incorrect sounds, and (5) Teach the client to make target phonemes with correct resonance.

See all the other posts of mine on nasality and intonation here.


  1. Van Riper, C. (1947, 1939). Speech Correction: Principles and Methods. New York and Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.


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