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Elements of Speech

by Dr Athira

speech elements


The most important elements of speech are the volume/ quantity of a person’s speech and the other is the rate/ speed of speech.

The other elements of speech are given below

1. Articulation of words:

Give ears to the patient’s speech. Is he speaking the words clearly? Observe if he is having a nasal tone and also see how clear and distinct the words are. Can you clearly make out words from his speech?

All these do come under articulation of speech.

A common disease associated with articulation of speech is Dysarthria. Dysarthria is nothing but defective articulation.

2. Loudness:

Observe how loud the patient speaks. A depressive patient may remain silent or he may speak but would be hardly audible. This is characteristics of many psychotic disorders as well.

3. Fluency:

Fluency is a combination of the flow of speech, the rate at which its spoken, how the words are used in the speech, the content of the speech, does the speech make any sense?..Etc…Etc…

Above all the melody of speech is taken into consideration. It’s the flow, rate and loudness that also do contribute to the melody of speech.

It’s at this time the abnormalities of speech have to be ruled out.

The common abnormalities of speech are determined by certain factors:

  1. Rhythm of words.
  2. Disturbed inflection. E.g. Monotone.
  3. Gaps in the flow of speech.
  4. Hesitations while speaking. This will give a bad flow of speech.
  5. Person may not get the word ‘eraser’, instead will say “what you use for rubbing sketches?” This is called as Circumlocutions.
  6. Person may use a word without sense for a common word. For E.g. he will ask where is ‘somb’ instead of ‘comb’
  7. Aphasia is another speech disorder.
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