Afasic - what do we mean by talking?

There are lots of different words to describe the skills we need to connect with other people.

You might hear some or all of these terms:

  • speech
  • language
  • communication
  • talking
  • speaking

Some of these terms may be used in a general way, and sometimes, particularly by professionals, used to mean something quite specific.

The word ‘speech’ can be used in a general way by parents and others to mean what your child says and how clear it is.

However speech and language therapists use the word speech in quite a specific way, and usually to refer to the clarity of what is said.

Speech includes the ability to:

  • Listen to the differences between sounds
  • Articulate sounds that make up your language eg: /sss/
  • Combine these sounds to make words
  • Speak with appropriate rhythm and intonation (rise and fall of the voice)
  • Speak without too many hesitations

Most people understand ‘language’ to mean different languages like English, Welsh, Polish, Arabic.

However speech and language therapists also use the word language to mean what we are talking about and the way we put words together:

  • Understanding the meaning of spoken words and sentences
  • Putting words together in a meaningful way to make sentences, stories, and conversations.

The word communication can be used in many ways. It is often used in a general way to mean how we connect with one another.

However speech and language therapists also use the word communication to mean the ability to talk and interact with others in an appropriate way. It includes listening and taking turns. Communicating appropriately means saying the right thing in the right way, at the right time!

Talking and speaking
We will use the terms speech, language and communication with their specific meanings as explained above but may also use more general terms like talking and speaking.

Talking/speaking can refer more broadly to speech, language and communication, including what you say and how you say it.