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What is speech and language?

Although speech and language are different, SLPs work on both. A child or adult can have trouble with speech and language together, or they may have trouble with only speech or only language.


What is speech?


Speech is how we sat sounds and words. This includes:

  • Articulation- how we produce sounds using articulators (lips, mouth, teeth, tongue). We may produce a /w/ instead of the /r/ sound when saying the word "red", and it may sound like "wed". We may have trouble producing the 'th' sound and may say "teef" instead of "teeth".

  • Voice- refers to how we produce sounds using our vocal folds (cords) and our breath. There may be damage to our vocal folds that can cause our voice to sound hoarse. We may also produce a vocal quality that is too loud/quiet and may not be effective or efficient for our communication environments.

  • Fluency- refers to the rhythm and smoothness of our speech. People who repeat sounds/words/phrases, insert interjections such as"um" or "uh", or have pauses in their speech may have a fluency disorder or a stutter.

What is language?


Language refers to the words that we use to express ourselves and how we use them to meet our needs. This includes:


  • What words mean. Words can have multiple meanings.

  • Changing words to create new meaning (i.e. happy/unhappy)

  • Putting multiple words together to create sentences and phrases that provide meaning.

  • How we say things to change our intent during communication. (i.e. emphasizing certain words or changing the tone to show emotion).


References: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/speech-and-language/



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