The answer is: when the epiglottis drops down in our throats it allows us to make all kinds of sounds, an important aspect of communication.
So, why DO we choke? Our two pipes for breathing and eating/drinking are both opened to our mouths. The brain involves 4 cranial nerves to automatically start a 3-step process to swallow, one of which is to shut our epiglottis over our airway. But if we are laughing or talking at the same time as food/liquid is in our mouths, we have to breathe. The process of inhaling signals the brain to keep the airway open, and thus food/liquid can accidentally fall into the wrong pipe....thus, we splutter to quickly eject that out of our airway!