Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Articulation:  The production of meaningful speech sounds using the articulators (lips, tongue, teeth, soft palate).

Articulation Disorder: Problems making sounds during speech production. Sounds can be substituted, left off, changed or added and speech is difficult for others to understand. Click here for additional information.

Apraxia: A motor-speech disorder caused by difficulty with motor planning that affects one’s ability to form sounds, syllables, and words.  A person knows what they want to say but the brain has difficulty executing the movements to form the words.  Symptoms in young children include limited cooing or babbling as an infant, limited number of consonant and vowel sounds, problems combining sounds, inconsistent sounds errors, inconsistent production of words,  limited speech production despite strong understanding of language etc.  Click here for additional information.

Dyslexia: A specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.

Dysarthria: A motor-speech disorder caused by muscle weakness. Symptoms include: slurred or imprecise speech, slow rate of speech, inadequate volume, breathy voice quality, difficulty chewing/swallowing etc.

Expressive Language:  The expression of one’s thoughts, feelings and ideas to others via verbal (spoken or written language) and nonverbal (body language, facial expression) communication.

Fluency: Refers to the rhythm of speech. Frequent hesitations and stuttering can impact the normal flow of speech.

Language Disorder: When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language) or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings completely (expressive language). Click here for additional information.

Metalinguistic Awareness: The ability to objectify language and dissect it as an arbitrary linguistic code independent of meaning.

Morphology: The smallest unit of meaning in a given language. Includes base words, prefixes, suffixes, grammatical markers etc.

Phonology: The sound system of language

Phonological Awareness: A broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language – parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes.

Phonemic Awareness: Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. There are 44 phonemes in the English language, including sounds represented by letter combinations such as /th/. Acquiring phonemic awareness is important because it is the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills. Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first two years of school instruction.

Phonics: The understanding that there is a predictable relationship between the sounds of spoken language, and the letters and spellings that represent those sounds in written language

Phonological Process Disorder: Patterns of sound errors e.g. substituting all sounds made in the back of the mouth, with sounds made in the front of the mouth e.g. saying “tar” for “car” and “dum” for “gum”. Click here for additional information.

Pragmatics: The rules of social communication including the ability to use language for different purposes, maintain a topic and take turns with a communication partner and change or modify language based a communication partner’s needs.

Reading Fluency: The ability to read both quickly and accurately

Receptive Language: The understanding of both verbal and nonverbal aspects of language

Resonance: Refers to the sound quality of one’s speech which can be characterized as hypo nasal (not enough nasality) or hyper nasal (too much nasal quality). Click here for additional information.

Semantics: The aspect of language concerned with meaning or content

Speech Disorder: when a person is unable to produce the sounds of speech correctly or fluently or has problems with his or her voice

Stuttering: Disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called dysfluencies,  that interfere with the fluency of speech. Dysfluencies are common in preschool children and most will eventually pass through these periods of dysfluencies without difficulty.  For some, the dysfluencies persist and may become worse  leading to a diagnosis of a stuttering disorder. Click here for additional information.

Syntax: The rules that govern the word order and sentence structure of a given language

Theory of Mind: The ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own.

Voice: The use of the vocal folds to produce sound. The voice can be abused from misuse or overuse which can result in hoarseness or loss of voice. Click here for additional information.