The Difference Between Speech and Language

Speech-Language Pathologists work with children and adults that experience speech and language delays and disorders.  But, there is a very real difference between speech and language.  The American Speech Language Hearing Association (www.ahsa.org), outlined the difference between speech and language and how each one is targeted differently in therapy.

"Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following:

  • What words mean (e.g., "star" can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity)
  • How to make new words (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly)
  • How to put words together (e.g., "Peg walked to the new store" rather than "Peg walk store new")
  • What word combinations are best in what situations ("Would you mind moving your foot?" could quickly change to "Get off my foot, please!" if the first request did not produce results)

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


How speech sounds are made (e.g., children must learn how to produce the "r" sound in order to say "rabbit" instead of "wabbit").


Use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound (e.g., the voice can be abused from overuse or misuse and can lead to hoarseness or loss of voice).


The rhythm of speech (e.g., hesitations or stuttering can affect fluency)."

Please visit http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/language_speech/ to learn more about the difference between speech and language or contact us at elaine@capitalspeechtherapy.com to learn more or schedule your free consultation.