Infants deciper sounds in their environment and come to understand that the patterns hold meaning...they are words. Later, they produce sound patterns similar to those they hear. Eventually, they transfer these listening and talking rules to reading and writing. Communication is a profound process that defines the human condition.



Speech-language pathologists typically analyze language through five linguistic rule systems. All rule systems are two-sided, that is, receptive and expressive. The receptive side involves understanding linguistic rules as they are heard or read. The expressive side involves using linguistic rules for expression through talking or writing. Although systems are often delineated (see right), considerable overlap and interplay exist.