Difference between Speech and Language | Language vs. Speech

Language vs. Speech

There is still confusion among many teachers and students to believe that these two concepts refer to the same, and more worrying, when seen in the market of books ; since many still appear with the title of Language, although its content in fact refers to the language or the grammar.

It is convenient to point out that from Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky, a more discreet and more epistemological handling of the concepts: language and speech has been made. Next we will see what the characteristics that distinguish each one are. This post is all about the Difference between Speech and Language.

Difference between Speech and Language

Language
Language is conceived as the general system of organized signs, whose main function is communication. The essential characteristics of the language are:

  • Language is social.
  • It is abstract.
  • It’s conventional.
  • It’s linear.

It is the speakers who give life to the language, for this reason, when you stop talking (or speak very little) a language is said to be “a dead language”. In addition, the language is modified as the speakers make use of it.

Speech
On the other hand, speech is the exclusively human faculty, which allows us to learn one or more languages ​​(Chomsky, 1984). Their characteristics are:

  • It is physiological.
  • It’s psychological .

Finally, it is interesting to know that the main cause by which people often confuse the meaning of these terms (especially language and speech) is because most of the books that Hispanics use and speak about these concepts; are translated from English and in this language, both languages and speeches are written the same ” language “. Therefore, only by taking into account the context can be understood when an author refers to one thing or the other.

Many translators may not have taken this into account and translated and assigned the same meaning to both terms.] The key differences between language and speech is language is the faculty that only humans possess and which allows them to learn languages and speech is the concretization of the language and unlike it is not social, but individual.