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The Difference Between Speech and Language

Speech and language go hand in hand to create communication, but individually they are different and each play their own part in the process of communicating. Speech refers to the different sounds that we produce by using our voice and moving our mouth to create words. Language refers to what words we use and how we use them to communicate with others. Language can even be broken down further into expressive language, receptive language, and pragmatic language. Expressive language is when your child uses words to communicate with others. Receptive language is when your child hears and understands what other speakers say. Pragmatic language is how your child uses language to interact socially with other people.

Examples of each:

· Speech: Your child producing the sounds of each letter in “cat.”

· Expressive Language: Your child saying, “the cat is orange” while playing with a cat.

· Receptive Language: Your child pointing to a cat when you ask them, “where is the cat?”

· Pragmatic Language: You and your child taking turns to talk about what you each did that day.


Below are some great resources that further discuss the differences between speech and language.

https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/396_SLPDifferences.pdf

https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/language_speech/

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