Indeed, this extraordinary fleshly instrument is a rich source of metaphors when we try to express the mystery of the human self, as we see with the word tongue as the natural metaphor for language. The word spirit is from the Latin spirare, to breathe; in Greek, it is pneuma, “breath”; in Hebrew, ruach, “breath”; in Sanskrit and Hindi, atman, “breath.” To “express” is to press out. A “cry” is also a plea, an indictment, a sign of grief. The Chinese radical for “mouth” pervades all the written characters in which the idea of human utterance is important. In the Bible, the world is created by word, breathed forth on the wind of the spirit. Singing is the universal metaphor of free and joyful expression.
Frederick Turner, The Human Voice, American Arts Quarterly