Difference Between Language and Speech

The language of an area is mostly dependent upon its culture, religion, nation, and, most importantly, on history. Some of the languages have changed with time, and some just have vanished into thin air. It is a very important tool of communication. Another such tool is speech that means the act of expressing. Both of them are important for livelihood. These have a similarity of being a communication tool but do not mean they are synonyms.

Language vs Speech 

The main difference between Language and Speech is Language describes the general idea of the message that need to be communicated and a tool by which human understand each other whereas speech describes the way of communicating that particular message verbally, it is the expression of feelings and thoughts. Languages have their rules, codes, signs, and types, but speech does not have any of these. It simply includes the speaking.

Language vs Speech

Language is a very important part of humankind. Because of language, all the development from Stone Age has taken place. It is a means of communication and is different in different areas. It includes speeches, gestures, writing, etc. Linguistics is the scientific study of language.

If an individual is verbally or vocally communicating by using any language, it is called speech. In this thought, feelings, ideas are interchanged between humans. It is the easiest and most effective way of communication where direct communication takes place. A very simple and most common example of this can be two persons talking with each other.

Comparison Table Between Language and Speech

Parameters of ComparisonLanguageSpeech
MeaningThe Communication system of a country or area.Verbal communication by using languages.
Tool of communicationUse to write, understand, etc.Used for verbal communication.
RoleExpress ideas need to be communicated.Show how the message has to be communicated.
RulesIt has certain rules.No such rules
Usage of codesCodes are used sometimes as the language (computer language)No codes are used.

What is Language?

Without language, it is not possible to communicate. It is a very important part of life. Languages have the following characteristics:

  • Arbitrary: in language, there is no reason behind the meanings and words of the language. For example, there is no proof or reason why a female is called a woman in English. It is completely arbitrary. But after a certain word is given a meaning, it is fixed and cannot be used for referring to something else.
  • Social: through language human communicate with each. They try to understand each other, form groups of society. Languages perform as a means of socializing as through this people feel connection and relation among each other.
  • Symbolic: language not only contains words, but it also has symbols with meaning. It is very important to know the language to understand the exact meaning of a particular symbol.
  • Systematic: all languages have a system with some rules. This system has to be followed to learn and speak the language. For example, in the grammatical system, various grammar rules have to be taken care of properly.
  • Vocal: earlier language was only vocal later on, writing came into existence. But still, nowadays, some people may not know how to write a particular language but vocally speak the same language fluently.
  • Productive and creative: languages are very creative and productive. Words can be arranged in a different sense which is not heard or read before. It is also very flexible as it can be changed as need by society.

What is Speech?

Speech is the process of conveying a message by using language. It has certain elements:

  • Speaker: it is the person who starts the conversion/communication. A particular person starts communication with a single or group of people. It is important that whatever the speaker is conveying, he should have all the information about that.
  • Message: a message is an important part of the speech. This is important that the speaker should not only convey the message he should make the listener understand the message properly. 
  • Channel: the medium through which the message is delivering is known as a channel. It can be written or spoken. With easy internet access, the channel has become more effective and convenient. The message can reach million in very little time.
  • Listener: listener is someone to whom the message is being conveyed. The listener should always pay attention to the speech for better understanding.
  • Feedback: feedback is important as it leads to improvising speech. It is healthy to have feedback from the listener about what they think and feel about the speech.
  • Interference: interference is something that disturbs the message from delivering to the listener; it can be anything from the noise of the fan or lack of interest.
  • Situation: it means the place and time of conveying the message. It is important to understand all the aspects of speech so that a proper message is conveyed without any interference.

Main Differences Between Language and Speech

  1. Both language and speech are tools of communication, but language is used to write, understand thoughts and feelings or perception, whereas, in speech, all the thoughts, perceptions, and feelings are communicated verbally.
  2. The role of language is to express the idea that needs to be communicated, and in speech, it is showed how the same idea has to be communicated.
  3. There are certain rules of different languages which have to be taken care of, but there is no such rule with the speech, although it has certain components such as, Articulation, Voice, and fluency.
  4. There are types of language which also include the language of signs where communication is done in signs only, but in speech, there is no such type of actual verbal communication has to be done.
  5. Codes are also included in the types of language, especially for the computer, i.e. is known as computer language or programming, but no such codes are included in the speech.


Therefore it is very much clear how both of the communication tools are different. Both of them have their importance, but the common importance they have is that they are medium of expressing thought and spreading knowledge. It is not possible for a person to communicate his thoughts, perception, knowledge, or anything without these.

No degree or professional training is required for gaining the basic knowledge of speech and language. It is learned from childhood in the family itself. It is learned by listening, speaking, reading, watching, and more simple and easy activities. But of course, if someone wants a career in the fields of speech or language, then he needs to be educated about both of them.


  1. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED023656
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED150613
  3. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED095550
  4. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24940617
  5. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_KL1y5bRGfAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA253&dq=what+is+speech&ots=kfylSIehNK&sig=X6TMndk00TUr77nxkWlyS1QjRa8
  6. https://pure.mpg.de/rest/items/item_2310402/component/file_2453272/content

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