Vocalizations such as mews and cries in cats or crying and laughter in humans are examples of expression of emotions. These vocalizations are generated by the emotional motor system, in which the mesencephalic periaqueductal gray (PAG) plays a central role, as demonstrated by the fact that lesions in the PAG lead to complete mutism in cats, monkeys, as well as in humans. The PAG receives strong projections from higher limbic regions and from the anterior cingulate, insula, and orbitofrontal cortical areas. In turn, the PAG has strong access to the caudal medullary nucleus retroambiguus (NRA). The NRA is the only cell group that has direct access to the motoneurons involved in vocalization, i.e., the motoneuronal cell groups innervating soft palate, pharynx, and larynx as well as diaphragm, intercostal, abdominal, and pelvic floor muscles. Together they determine the intraabdominal, intrathoracic, and subglottic pressure, control of which is necessary for generating vocalization. Only humans can speak, because, via the lateral component of the volitional or somatic motor system, they are able to modulate vocalization into words and sentences. For this modulation they use their motor cortex, which, via its corticobulbar fibers, has direct access to the motoneurons innervating the muscles of face, mouth, tongue, larynx, and pharynx. In conclusion, humans generate speech by activating two motor systems. They generate vocalization by activating the prefrontal-PAG-NRA-motoneuronal pathway, and, at the same time, they modulate this vocalization into words and sentences by activating the corticobulbar fibers to the face, mouth, tongue, larynx, and pharynx motoneurons.