Speech Therapy Dictionary
The speech therapy dictionary contains a list of speech therapy terms and their definitions.
The level of skill that is expected given a child’s age
Articulation / pronunciation
The producing of sounds accurately using the speech muscles, tongue and teeth to make words and sentences that can be clearly understood
The defining features of objects or actions
The brain’s ability to fill in missing sound information, eg sounds missing from words (i__ cream = ice-cream), or words from sentences (“I wear a ____ to keep warm” = I wear a jumper to keep warm)
The ability to hear the difference between sounds (eg hearing that f and th sound different)
The ability to hear and process sounds
The verbal sounds made by infants and young children that are often the precursor to speech
Baby talk / Motherese / Child-directed speech
The simple communication of an adult to a young child using exaggerated intonation and stress, eg “He’s a big dog!”
The ability to speak and understand more than one language (eg English and Cantonese)
Being able to join up sounds to make words
Thinking skills or the functions of the mind controlled by the brain, eg memory, attention, concentration
A message that exchanges ideas or information
Strategies and strong motivators that make someone want to communicate
Joining words eg and, but, because, so
A letter of the alphabet or a sound that is not a vowel, where the airflow is impeded at some point
A response that is appropriate to what has been said
The ability to read written words by converting letters into sounds and joining them together to make words and sentences.
An shortage in the development or learning of a skill, eg a working memory deficit
Parrotting or imitating speech or sounds that have been heard including words, phrases or sentences
Processes of the frontal lobe of the brain such as focussing attention, shifting focus, working memory, sequencing, controlled emotional response and multitasking
Using words and sentences to convey a message
Figurative language / non-literal language
Expressions that are not intended to be understood literally, eg “My father hit the roof”
Final consonant deletion
Saying words without the last sound
The rules governing the formation of words and how words relate to each other in sentences
Being able to logically determine how or why something occurs
A way of describing how the brain deals with information that it receives from different sources
The tune in our voice when we speak, such as the rise and fall in pitch.
Speech sounds or words that are unintelligible or nonsense words, but produced with adult-like speech patterns
Labelling / Naming
Interchangeable terms for know the specific words attached to items or actions
A whole system used for communicating, which usually includes speech but also includes all the other aspects of communication such as non-verbal language, comprehension and pragmatics
The structure in the body that lies above the windpipe and contains the vocal folds/ vocal cords and helps produces voice
A person’s internal dictionary that stores words and their meanings in the brain
Understanding word concepts used in speech, such as words for location, time, quantity or size
Listener orientation / listener awareness
Understanding how much a listener knows or doesn’t know already, and giving the appropriate information to account for this.
The ability to think about words and sounds, which includes phonological awareness, sematic awareness, syntactic awareness, word awareness ad understanding non-literal language.
Mean Length of Utterance, an average measure of how many words or parts of words are used in each sentence.
The parts of words that provide the grammatical component (eg word endings such as –s for plurals).
Story-telling which can include recounting personal events or experiences.
The use of anything other than words to communicate, such as sign language (Makaton, Auslan), picture communication exchange, pictures, tone of voice, facial expression and body language.
Combinations of letters and sounds that look like words but are not real words .
The ability to tell a logical sequence of ideas in sentences that convey a story to the listener.
Oral retell / recount
The ability to tell something that has happened to oneself in logical sequence of sentences.
A cavity in the body extending from the nasal cavity to the larynx.
The sound produced from the vibration of the vocal cords (ie voice).
A sound. Exactly where a sound is placed I a word ca e identified as either initial phoneme (first sound), final phoneme (last sound) or medial (middle sound).
Phoneme deletion or sound deletion
The ability to say a word whilst leaving out a particular sound, eg “Say truck without the ‘t’ (= ruck).
Understanding about sounds and hearing the difference between sounds.
Sounds, sound sequences and patterns.
The ability to explain what might happen logically or sequentially in a given situation.
The skills needed before reading will be successful, including phonological awareness (awareness of sounds).
Important features of communication that we use in addition to the actual words we speak, including body language, facial expression, tone of voice, volume, intonation , eye contact and other social uses of language.
Similar to intonation, which is the tune in our voice when we speak, and also includes the stress, rhythm, volume and rate of speech.
Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN)
A task requiring the naming of as many items in a category as possible.
Receptive language / comprehension
Understanding or comprehension of language use and meaning.
Understanding what is read.
Positive or negative response to a behaviour that encourages or discourages the recurrence of the behaviour.
Clearly identifying who or what is being talked about.
The enlarging or prolonging of sound produced by vibration, such as enhancing the volume and tone of voice using the cavities of the mouth, nose and sinuses.
Segmenting / segmentation/ phoneme segmentation
The ability to hear and isolate all the sounds in a word.
The ability to be aware of and make appropriate adjustments to one’s behaviour or actions, including communication, eg volume in conversation, correcting pronunciation.
Semantic organisation / Semantic categories / Categorisation
The ability to organise words into groups that belong together or are related in some way.
The ability to feel or register sensory information (ie feedback from the senses), eg feeling that the chin is wet from dribbling, or where to place the tongue when producing sounds, or an awareness of speech volume.
The ability to put things in a correct, logical order, and can be words, pictures, ideas, concepts or stories.
A group of skills necessary to interact successfully with others in different situations using acceptable social behaviours, eg conversation skills and problem solving.
A list of sounds that can e accurately produced.
Words that describe how things are related in space, eg next to, under, left or right.
Speech Pathology/Speech Therapy
Interchangeable terms relating to the work of Speech Pathologists who work with communication difficulties of speech, language, reading, writing, voice and swallowing.
A sound manipulation task where the first sounds of two words are swapped, eg sun and rakebecome run and sake.
Reducing multi-syllabic words to a simpler form (eg saying elephant as “ephant”.
Syllable segmentation / syllable detection
The ability to hear and identify individual syllables in a word.
The rules governing word structure and the relationships between words.
When communication deviates from an established topic.
Words that describe how things are related in time, eg before or after.
Verbal problem solving
Using language to identify, explain or provide a solution to a problem.
A moving X-ray that is videotaped to observe the swallowing process.
The ability to remember visual images, such as pictures or words.
Knowledge of words.
Voiced and voiceless sounds
Consonants that are produced with or without vibration of the vocal cords. Voiced sounds are produced with vibration of the vocal cords (eg b, v, z, g, d, j), whereas voiceless sounds are produced with breath alone that is shaped by the mouth (eg p, f, sh, s, k, t, ch).
A letter of the alphabet or a sound that is not a consonant, where the airflow is not impeded at any point.
Understanding the relationship between words and the ability to think of words that are related to one another.
The ability to find a word stored in the brain and use it.
The ability to hold information in the brain until it is recalled and used if necessary.