What is Speech, Language and Communication?

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists defines the terms speech, language and communication as follows:

Speech refers to:

  • Saying sounds accurately and in the right places in words
  • Speaking fluently, without hesitation, prolonging or repeating words or sounds
  • Speaking with expression in a clear voice, using pitch, volume and intonation to add meaning

Language refers to:

  • Understanding and making sense of what people say
  • Using words to build up sentences which are used in longer stretches or spoken language and to build conversations
  • Putting information in the right order to make sense

Communication refers to:

  • Being able to communicate to people and take turns as well as change language/communication to suit the situation; in effect, how we interact with others
  • Non-verbal communication, for example eye contact, gestures and facial expressions
  • Being able to consider another person’s perspective, intentions and the wider context

In this section

Stages of speech and language development
Ideas and activities to try
Multilingualism
Why speech and language is important
How to refer to Speech and Language Therapy
What to expect from a Speech and Language appointment
Useful links and videos