Language is different from Speech

When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder.

When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder.  

Language
is made up of socially shared rules that include:

  • What words mean
  • How to make new words
  • How to put words together

Speech is the verbal means of communicating. Speech consists of:

  • Articulation - How speech sounds are made in the mouth using the articulators
  • Voice - Use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound
  • Fluency - The rhythm of speech


Social Language Use

Pragmatics or Social Navigation

An individual may say words clearly and use long, complex sentences with correct grammar, but still have a communication problem if he or she has not mastered the rules for social language known as pragmatics.

Pragmatics involve three major communication skills:
  • Using language for different purposes, such as
    • greeting
    • informing
    • requesting
  • Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, such as 
    • talking differently to a baby than to an adult
    • giving background information to an unfamiliar listener
    • speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground
  • Following rules for conversation and storytelling, such as
    • taking turns in conversation
    • introducing topics of conversation
    • staying on topic
    • rephrasing when misunderstood
    • how to use verbal and nonverbal signs
    • how close to stand to someone when speaking
    • how to use facial expressions and eye contact