Women articulate better than men says Bart de Boer, assistant professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). It is well known that men and women have differently organized vocal tracts. The larynx is lower in human vocal tracts than it is in other primates, but in human males the larynx is even lower yet. The difference is thought to account for much of the distinctively male and female voices.
Using a computer model, Dr. de Boer was able to test a variety of models, including ape and possible Neanderthal tracts. Human vocal tracts can do a better job of generating speech sounds than apes (although ape vocal tracts can do surprisingly well), but females articulate better than men. This is of theoretical interest because it suggests that the male larynx did not descend so far to serve purely linguistic needs. It also enabled Dr. de Boer to give his presentation the provocative title of “Why Women Speak Better than Men” (abstract here).