Definitions of Common Speech and Language Terms


How we make speech sounds using the mouth, lips, and tongue.


Target sound error patterns

Phonological Awareness

The ability to recognize and work with the sounds in spoken language. Phonological awareness is the foundation for learning to read.


Sound production errors caused by a neurological motor planning disorder.


How we use our vocal folds and breath to make sounds. Our voice can be loud, soft, high, or low pitched. We can hurt our voice by yelling, talking too much, or coughing.


This is the rhythm and rate of our speech.

Receptive Language

The first to develop, receptive language is the ability to listen and understand speech. This includes understanding sentences, following directions, understanding a story, as well as, understanding basic concepts and vocabulary.

Expressive Language

Expressive language includes the ability to express thoughts and ideas. It includes length of sentences, grammar, content of the message and vocabulary.

Pragmatic Language

Pragmatics are the social language skills we use in our daily interactions. This includes what we say, how we say it, and our body language. It also includes our ability to judge what is expected in different situations.