Speech facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
For 'speech', meaning a talk, see Public speaking

Speech is when spoken language is used to communicate. Only humans have language. Speech between two people is a conversation.

Speech is made of sounds travelling in the air. Sounds from the voice box is shaped by the lips, tongue, teeth, nose and palate.

To make speech a person has to be able to:

  1. choose speech sounds
  2. put them into a sequence
  3. produce sound in the voice box
  4. use the lips, tongue, teeth, nose and palate to shape the sounds

Difficulties can happen at any stage of this four-stage process. Difficulties at stages 1 and 2 are known as phonological difficulties while problems at stages 3 and 4 are known as articulation difficulties or motor co-ordination difficulties. A speech and language therapist can help work out the stage of the sequence that has difficulties and give therapy.

Researchers study many different aspects of speech: speech production and speech perception of the sounds used in a language, speech repetition, speech errors, the ability to map heard spoken words onto the vocalizations needed to recreate them, which plays a key role in children's enlargement of their vocabulary, and what different areas of the human brain, such as Broca's area and Wernicke's area, underlie speech. Speech is the subject of study for linguistics, cognitive science, communication studies, psychology, computer science, speech pathology, otolaryngology, and acoustics.

Animals do not have speech, but some can communicate with each other by using sounds.

A speaker may say something, and if it is heard, what the speaker says may be understood. Sometimes language is difficult to understand. It may be vague, confusing, or even misleading. It may be easy or difficult.

The same speech may be put in different languages, by means of translation.


Speech Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.