Receptive and Expressive Languages: The Difference

“Understanding language and talking are two different processes. Both require that a child hears well enough to distinguish meaningful sounds. Understanding is a sensory perception process sometimes called ‘receptive language.’ A child will understand many words before she starts to use them in speech. Speaking is a motor process – getting the muscles of the tongue and mouth to function together just right to produce the desired sound. This is often referred to as ‘expressive language.'”

Simple Steps, by Karen Miller, pg. 35


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