English Language

What is receptive language?

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2009-02-17 11:28:44

Receptive language is the comprehension of language -

listening and understanding what is communicated. Another way to

view it is as the receiving aspect of language. (Sometimes, reading

is included when referring to receptive language, but some people

use the term for spoken communication only.) It involves being

attentive to what is said, the ability to comprehend the message,

the speed of processing the message, and concentrating on the

message. Receptive language includes understanding figurative

language, as well as literal language. Receptive language includes

being able to follow a series of commands.

Receptive language is one of the two aspects of communication in

language or communication theory - the other being expressive

language (which refers to being able to produce speech and

communicate a message). Some people can speak better than they can

understand or vice versa; in other words, some are better at

receptive language, while others are better at expressive language.

Someone who excels at one is not necessarily good at the other.

This terminology often appears in discussions of communication

theory, speech and language disorders, and second language

acquisition theory.

This is where the child understands what other people are

saying. It is a major step in the progress of a child with Autism.

It is however not enough for the child to understand just a handful

of words such as food, milk, bike etc. A typical child of seven can

understand and use at least 10,000 words. A child with Autism needs

to have his receptive language boosted as early and as quickly as


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