Aphasia: Communication disorder caused by brain damage and characterized by complete or partial impairment of language comprehension, formulation, and use; excludes disorders associated with primary sensory deficits, general mental deterioration, or psychiatric disorders. Partial impairment is often referred to as dysphasia.

Aphonia: Loss of voice

Apraxia: In speech, a non-linguistic sensorimotor disorder of articulation characterized by impaired capacity to program the position of speech musculature and the sequencing of muscle movements (respiratory, laryngeal, and oral) for the volitional production of phonemes

Articulation: In speech, vocal tract movements for speech sound production; involves accuracy in placement of the articulators, timing, direction of movements, force extended, speed of response, and neural integration of all events.

Aspiration: Generic term referring to the action of material penetrating the larynx and entering the airway below the true vocal folds; may occur (a) before the swallowing reflex is triggered when the airway has not elevated or closed, (b) during swallowing if the laryngeal valves are not functioning adequately, and (c) after the swallow when the larynx lowers and opens for inhalation.

Ataxia: Disorder characterized by dyscoordination and tremors in fine and gross motor activity.

Audiologist: One who holds a degree and/or certification in audiology, and whose specific interest is in the identification, measurement, and rehabilitation of persons with hearing impairments.

Auditory processes: Specific skills such as discrimination, localization, auditory attention, auditory figure-ground, auditory closure, auditory discrimination, auditory blending, auditory analysis, auditory association, and auditory memory-sequential memory.

Auditory processing disorder: 1. Impaired ability to attend, discriminate, recognize, or comprehend auditory information even though hearing and intelligence are within normal limits; more pronounced with distorted or competing speech, in noise, or in poor acoustic environments. Auditory processing abilities develop parallel with language, and children with auditory processing disorders are a subset of those with receptive and/or expressive language disorders. 2. Any breakdown in an individual’s auditory skills that results in diminished learning though hearing, even though peripheral auditory sensitivity is normal.

Augmentative communication: Any approach designed to support the communication of individuals who are not independent verbal communicators in all situations.

Autism: Abnormality in interpersonal relationships exhibited in early childhood and characterized by morbid self-absorption to the detriment of influence by external reality; characterized by: (a) onset before 30 months of age; (b) pervasive lack of responsiveness to others; (c) gross deficits in language development; (d) if speech present, peculiar speech patterns such as immediate and delayed echolalia, metaphorical language, and pronomial reversal; (e) bizarre responses to various aspects of the environment (e.g., resistance to change; peculiar interest in, or attachments to, animate or inanimate objects).

Behavior modification: Procedure used to change an individual’s response either by removing or reducing undesirable responses or by producing desirable ones; responses to be studied are carefully defined, observed on a regular schedule, recorded according to a planned system, and analyzed in terms of their environment.

Carryover: In speech, the habitual use of newly learned speech or language techniques in everyday situations.

Cluttering: Rapid utterances with many elisions, transpositions, and omissions of significant speech sounds; lapse of syntax may also occur. Speech is generally jerky and word groups are spoken in rapid spurts, making the utterance difficult to understand; often confused with stuttering.

Coarticulation: Articulatory movements for one phone which are carried over into the production of previous or subsequent phones, but which do not affect the primary place of articulation, as occurs when assimilation affects the place of articulation.

Dementia: General mental deterioration due to organic or psychological factors, characterized by disorientation, impaired memory, judgment and intellect, and a shallow labile affect.

Dysarthria: Term for a collection of motor speech disorders due to impairment originating in the central or peripheral nervous system. Respiration, articulation, phonation, resonation, and/or prosody may be affected; volitional and automatic actions, such as chewing and swallowing and movements of the jaw and tongue may also be deviant.

Dyslexia: Inability to read; may be the result of neurological impairment; in a more severe form, often referred to as alexia.

Dysphagia: Difficulty in swallowing; may include inflammation, compression, paralysis, weakness, or hypertonicity of the esophagus.

Echolalia: Tendency for an individual to repeat without modification that which is spoken to him; normally occurs between 18 and 24 months of age and usually considered to be involuntary, but may include voluntary repetitions.

Fluency Disorder: Smoothness with which sounds, syllables, words, and phrases are joined together during oral language, lack of hesitations or repetitions in speaking.

Fluency: Term used to describe any interruption in the flow of oral language; not restricted to stuttering.

Habituation: Act or process of becoming natural.

Idiopathic: Denoting a disease or disorder of unknown etiology.

Language Processing: Process of hearing, discriminating, assigning significance to, and interpreting spoken words, phrases, clauses, sentences, and discourse.

Lexicon: Total accumulation of linguistic signs, words or morphemes, or both, in a given language; the list of all the words in a language.

Lisp: Defective production of one or more of the sibilant consonants, usually caused by improper tongue placement or by abnormalities of the articulatory mechanism; the /s/ and /z/ phonemes are the most commonly involved phonemes.

Metalinguistic: Ability to think about language and to comment on it, as well as to produce and comprehend it.

Minimal pair: Words that are alike in sound, except for a single phonetic feature; e.g., pear-bear, fat-vat.

Morphology: Study of how morphemes are put together to form words; indicates how words are formed and provides a bridge between phonology and syntax.

Myofunctional: 1. Pertaining to muscular function. 2. In speech, denoting the action of muscle groups related to facial development and tongue function.

Myofunctional Therapy: Method of restoring to normal the action of the muscle groups related to tongue function and swallowing.

Myringotomy: Surgical incision into the tympanic membrane to allow drainage of fluid from the middle ear.

Overlearning: Practice or repetition of a skill past the point necessary for retention or recall; permits the response to become automatic or internalized, and permits a shift from the representational level (conscious or cognitive) to the subconscious or habitual level; e.g., syntax and language must be automatic if they are to be used effectively.

Pragmatics: Set of rules governing the use of language in context. Context is treated as an integral part of language structure rather than as a cause of language, and meanings are seen as the result of the creative combination of utterance and social settings; thus meanings and context become virtually inseparable.

Prolongation: In stuttering, the lengthening of a speech sound or maintaining the posture of the lips, tongue, or other parts of the speech mechanism in an attempt to modify the stuttering pattern.

Prosody: Melody of speech determined primarily by modifications of pitch, quality, strength, and duration; perceived primarily as stress and intonational patterns.

Pull Out: In stuttering, a deliberate attempt by the stutterer to modify the stuttering block before it is completed.

Response Time: Period of time involved in producing a response to a stimulus.

Sensorimotor: Denoting the combination of the input of sensations and the output of motor activity; motor activity reflects what is happening to the sensory organs.

Spontaneous Recovery: 1. In aphasia, the return, complete or incomplete, of impaired abilities, such as speech, intellectual functions, motor functions; may occur with or without therapeutic intervention, usually within a period of three months. 2. In stuttering, the remission of stuttering without formal therapy.

Stammering: Disorder of fluency, rhythm, and rate; often refers to involuntary speech stoppages. In the U.S., this term is not specifically differentiated from stuttering.

Stuttering: Disturbance in the normal fluency and time patterning of speech. Primary characteristics include one or more of the following: (a) audible or silent blocking; (b) sound and syllable repetitions; (c) sound prolongations; (d) interjections; (e) broken words; (f) circumlocutions; or (g) words produced with an excess of tension. Associated behaviors or secondary characteristics include the habitual use of speech musculature or of other body parts which a stutterer employs along with the primary characteristics; thought to be initiated to release, conceal, or modify the dysfluency. The disturbance may be at the level of neuromuscular, respiratory, phonatory, or articulatory mechanisms. Dysfluencies are so numerous that they exceed the normal number or degree for the individual’s age, sex, or speaking situation.

Stuttering Pattern: Specific behaviors a particular stutterer demonstrates in speech interference; usually becomes predictable and reoccurring.

Suprasegmental: Prosodic feature of a language, including stress, intonation, duration, and juncture.

Tongue Thrust: When, in a resting position, the anterior or lateral portions of the tongue contact more than half the surface area of either the upper or lower incisors, cuspids, or bicuspids, or protrude between them, or when, during the swallow of any two of three media (liquids, solids, saliva), there is a visible increase by the tongue of (a) force against the teeth, (b) degree of protrusion between the teeth, or (c) contact of surface area of the teeth.

Tongue-tie: Colloquialism for ankyloglossia.

Velopharyngeal Competence: Ability to separate the nasal cavity from the oral cavity by action of the velum and the pharynx.

Velopharyngeal Closure: Closing, by the velum and pharynx, of the nasal cavity from the oral cavity, thus directing air through the mouth rather than through the nose.

Vocal Abuse: Mistreatment, usually by overuse, of the laryngeal and pharyngeal musculature; e.g., by screaming or yelling.

Vocal Misuse: Incorrect use of pitch, tone focus, quality, volume, breath support, or rate which may occur singly or in combinations.

Voice Disorder: Any deviation in pitch, intensity, quality, or other basic vocal attribute which consistently interferes with communication, draws unfavorable attention, adversely affects the speaker or the listener, or is inappropriate to the age, sex, or perhaps the culture or class of the individual; may be organic or functional in nature and may be the result of laryngeal function or resonance disorders.

Yawn-sigh Approach: Techniques used in stuttering and voice therapies to aid in eliminating hard glottal contacts and to encourage greater airflow. The client is instructed to yawn to obtain a longer inspiration, exhale with a light phonation (sigh), and then exhale phonating words that begin with an /h/; use of the initial /h/ helps to eliminate the hard glottal attacks.