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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Kung-Gunion, M.S., CCC-SLP

Why “Speech-Language” Pathologist? What’s the Difference Between "Speech" and "Language"?

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

So, we talked about how the labels “speech-language pathologist” and “speech therapist” are interchangeable, right? Well why is “speech-language” in the title anyways? The jargon and nuances can get a bit confusing! My goal is to clear that up!

First off, “speech” is different from “language”. Whaaat?

When I have my “speech” ears and eyes on, I am thinking about the specific sounds that are coming out of your child’s mouth. I am thinking about how your child’s mouth is moving to make those sounds. Speech is the result of multiple fine motor movements within our mouth. Our brain needs to send signals to control our tongue, lips, jaw, vocal folds, and even our lungs as we make these sounds.

When I have my “language” ears and eyes on, I am thinking about how your child is communicating with you, the words your child is using, the gestures or signs they are showing you, the phrases they are creating, and the grammar they are applying. Language can be spoken, written, typed, signed, gestured produced on a paper, or spoken by an electronic device. Now, language is its own beast. We have the ability to both understand and use language!


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