Speech Vs. Language

Many people think the terms 'speech' and 'language' are synonymous with one another; however, these two terms are quite different.  Let me explain...

Speech involves:

  • Articulation: includes the sounds our tongue, teeth, and lips produce to form words.
  • Fluency: refers to the pattern or flow of one's speech.  This may be interrupted by repetitions of sounds or syllables, prolongation of sounds, pauses, or long hesitations.  
  • Voice: involves the quality, pitch, resonance, and intensity of one’s voice. People who have difficulties in reference to voice may sound monotone, harsh, breathy, or sing-song in nature. Other difficulties may arise due to polyps or nodules on the vocal cords or other harmful behaviors such as screaming or constant loud talking.

Language: refers to the system of communication we use to convey messages to one another. It involves BOTH the understanding and production of information.

Language delays or disabilities may include:

  • Having a slow rate of acquiring new vocabulary or understanding words
  • Difficulty understanding oral directions
  • Difficulty understanding abstract ideas
  • Difficulty with syntax (word order/grammar)
  • Difficulty with morphology (present/past tense)
  • Problems engaging in social interactions and conversations with peers