Definitions and Glossary

This is the movement of the lips, tongue, teeth and palate into specific patterns for speech.

Auditory Memory

Remembering what you have just heard, including the order in which you heard it
This is sending and receiving messages using spoken or written language, non-verbal sounds, gestures or body language, symbols, etc.
Communication-supportive environment
This means an environment that promotes the development of speech, language and communication skills, and that offers support to those who struggle with these things, for example inclusion of visual supports, careful monitoring of language levels.
An idea generalised from a set of characteristics that are attributed to a group of objects, relations or things
Expressive language -
This is the language (spoken, signed, gestured or symbolic) used for communication.
Changes made to words to indicate tense (walk- walked ) number ( horse- horses) and other grammatical features ( big- bigger, biggest)
This is the use of changing pitch to convey meaning in spoken language.

Language is a rule-governed, organised system that combines units to form words that can in turn be combined to form an infinite set of possible utterances. These units could be sounds (speech), written symbols (text), hand movements (sign language) or raised dots (Braille).

Language consists of: "content"- the meaning of individual words and word relationships/ "form" - the structure of words and sentences/"use"- the use of language in social contexts

Language Delay
The development of language skills which follow a normal pattern but later and at a slower rate than expected

Language Disorder

Language skills usually take longer to develop but more importantly, the pattern of language development is atypical


A language user's knowledge of words - an individual's vocabulary store


To provide a "correct" version of speech or language for a pupil to copy


The rules of morphology govern how words are structured to create new words or how inflections are used to express the grammatical relationship between a word and its context


This is the use of several senses together in learning or problem-solving, for example saying letters aloud when spelling involves the eyes, the hand, the mouth and the ears.


A spoken or written account of related events recounted in the order that they happened

Narrative Framework

The structure of a story including the following elements- characters (who), setting (where), time (when) events (what happened) and resolution (the end)

Non-verbal communication

This is communication that does not use spoken language, involving, for example, the use of gestures, signs, body language, cries or electronic aids.

Open ended questions

"why" and "how" questions that prompt pupils to say more and have a range of answers rather than a single answer


These are the rules that govern the discrimination and pronunciation of individual sounds, syllables and words necessary for speech.


This is the understanding and use of language/communication skills in a social way, interacting with another person. It includes understanding of verbal and non-verbal (facial expression, body posture) aspects of communication.

This is the understanding and use of language/communication skills in a social way, interacting with another person. It includes understanding of verbal and non-verbal (facial expression, body posture) aspects of communication.

Processing (language)

This is the ability to perceive, remember, discriminate and analyse information given verbally.

Receptive language/Comprehension

This is how we understand the spoken and written word.


This is the intensification of sound during articulation, caused by the air cavities of the mouth and nasal passages.


This is the understanding of what words, concepts and phrases mean.

Semantic cues

Giving information about a word such as its category, location, function, description and associated words

Social communication

This means the communication a person uses in interactions with another person. It can range from simple non-verbal behaviours, such as eye contact and head nods, to more complex verbal behaviour, such as negotiating a deal.

Social skills

The ability to interact appropriately with others


These are the sounds and sound combinations produced to make spoken language.


This is also known as dysfluency. It is speaking with involuntary repetitions of sounds or words, blocks or pauses.


These are the grammatical rules that enable us to understand and combine words into phrases and sentences.

Verbal reasoning

Using language to think about and solve problems 
The words of a language

Word finding Difficulties

Pupils have age appropriate vocabulary but have difficulty retrieving a known word from their memory - they often experience "tip of the tongue" type problems