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Speech development, speech disorders, phonetics, phonology, articulation, speech perception...and much more!

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Language development, acquisition, verbal language, syntax, morphology, pragmatics...and more!

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Featured Article

Stuttering Problems

There are many stuttering problems for people who stutter. People with an established stutter are aware of the negative effect of repetitions, prolongations, hesitations and blocks on their speech. Their stutter (stammer) may be accompanied by facial tics and uncontrolled body movements. Stuttering can lead to the avoidance of certain activities and to social isolation.

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Linguistic Knowledge Bases

Knowledge of the rules that govern how we encode and decode linguistic utterances can be thought of as being organized into three components: the semantic-syntactic knowledge base, the phonological knowledge base, and the phonetic knowledge base.

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Transcribing Conversation

To analyze conversation, audio data is typically transcribed into a written form that is amenable to analysis. There are two general approaches. The first is a more detailed method that captures the minutiae of conversational interaction, known as a narrow transcription. The second requires less detail and is known as a broad transcription. This article provides examples of both methods and introduces a format for visually displaying the relative distribution of speaker participation in conversations.

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Lexical Density

Lexical density is a useful measure of the difference between texts (for example, between a person’s written language and their speech). To calculate this we must distinguish between lexical words and function words. The lexical density of two real world examples is calculated and interpreted. Lexical density is shown to be a useful measure of how much information is contained within a text.

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The Language Instinct

Noam Chomsky argues that language is innate. Indeed, language acquisition appears to be a genetically initiated and genetically guided process. This argument has been strengthened by the discovery of a gene called FOXP2 that is implicated in the communication disorder known as Specific Language Impairment (SLI).

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Language Development

Linguistic ability is the ability to manipulate symbols, specifically the arbitrary symbols that we call words, in order to create meaning. The developing child does not, of course, acquire this ability all at once. The process of language development may be considered as a series of alternating periods of rapid growth accompanied by periods of calm or consolidation. There are several stages, each incorporating different behaviors, which may be seen as precursors to the acquisition of full linguistic ability. These stages are typically divided into two categories: (1) pre-linguistic, and (2) linguistic.

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Language Delay

Typically-developing children follow a chronological sequence of maturation: their development advancing developmental milestones. Language delay is the failure to develop language capabilities at the expected time. There may be receptive language delay or expressive language delay, or these may co-occur. Milestones such as mean length of utterance (MLU), intelligibility, language comprehension, receptive and expressive vocabulary and development of morphology can be used to judge language development. This article also cites a number of causes of language delay.

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Language Acquisition

One of the most interesting questions is, ‘How do humans acquire language skills?’ As with attempts to define language, there is no unanimously accepted explanation of language acquisition. However, in order to provide an oversight, we consider five theories: probability, imitation, cognition, social interaction, and innate ability.

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Key Properties of Language

Language is highly complex but can be defined in terms of a number of key properties. Eight such properties are considered: arbitrariness, duality, systematicity, structure-dependence, productivity, displacement, specialisation, and cultural transmission.

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