What Is Speech?
When a Speech-Language Pathologist uses the word ‘speech,’ they are referring to the fine motor movements of the face and mouth that we use to speak. Speech is the ability to move the muscles in our lips, tongue and jaw in the specific shapes that make each sound. We then combine those sounds smoothly and in the correct order to form words and sentences.

Due to the fact that most of us speak effortlessly every day, it can be easy to overlook the complexity of the movements the body needs to speak. Speech is a fine motor skill that requires the precise movements of the muscles in our diaphragm up to our lips. It also requires support from our core, controlled breath, and fluid, coordinated movement. For all these parts to work in unison, our brain must send the correct signals to all these parts, telling them what to do and when to do it. When all these components work together harmoniously, we can speak clearly, listen to ourselves while speaking and discriminate between the sounds we make.


The ability to form speech sounds accurately (i.e. using the ‘s’ sound at the beginning of the word ‘sun’, instead of incorrectly saying ‘thun’).


The 2 main parts of language are receptive language and expressive language. Receptive language is the ability to understand the words that someone says. Expressive language is the ability to put words together to express meaning and indicate our feelings, needs, and wants.


Producing sound by using our breath and vocal cords, also known as our voice box. This can encompass appropriate volume, projection, and resonance, or hoarseness and loss of voice.


The flow of our speech when speaking, such as joining sounds, words, and phrases in a smooth rhythm without atypical interruption.