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Types of Speech Used in Everyday Life

Social speech is usually used in a casual setting with either friends, classmates, family, acquaintances, or strangers. The vocabulary and stylization of the speech can vary vastly depending on who I am speaking to, but the purpose of this kind of speech is almost always the same, to relate, entertain, or listen to the other party. Social speech with close friends is likely to include a lot of references, slang, humor, talk about memories, or other details that are only known to an inner circle. Social speech with less familiar individuals is likely to be more polite, standard, and have the intention of finding common interests with the other person while still being casual. A common example of social speech with familiar people can include talking about what is happening in our lives such as personal and professional news, gossip, or making plans to go out all together.

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In-classroom conversation refers to everyday language used between myself, the teachers, and peers. It can still be casual in nature but has a vastly different vocabulary and sentence structure. The main purpose of this kind of conversation is to clearly communicate ideas and knowledge to everyone in the class or ask a question in a concise way. However, as it is used daily with people with which I am familiar, it is not overtly formal or rigid. Classroom conversations can often become good-natured debates, inquiries, or just discussion on the topic. Additionally, the somewhat casual but structured format of the conversation allows me to draw parallels of the topics in the classroom with aspects of my own life or the world in general. These conversations usually manifest themselves as discussions after classroom readings, questions and answers after presentations, and problem solving tasks given by the teacher.

Professional speech is a very formal and impersonal type of speech that is used not only in terms of work but also in school settings. Unlike classroom conversations, professional speech is reserved for occasions in which a more serious approach is essential. As such, the dialogue is usually with an authority and therefore includes attentive listening, neutral language, precise word choice, and other characteristics of speech that prioritize respect, focus, and critical thinking. In a professional setting, this can occur as a job interview, an important presentation or pitch, and conversations with clients or an employer. In these situations professional speech ensures clear, concise, and prepared approaches to any task, which is vital within a work setting that is fast-paced. Within a school environment, I use professional speech during very important presentations, especially those outside of class, speeches, debates, and during events outside of school. Additionally, when working with a program or movement, professional speech is essential to clearly defining the purposes of these events.

Opinion talk is an interesting and often ignored change in speech that has psychosocial causes and differs from social speech. According to studies, an interesting phenomenon in which we mimic the speech patterns of people with whom we share opinions can occur (Bürki, 2018). It is quite commonly known that as social beings we mimic a substantial amount of behavior between each other, however, our social judgment is just as likely to orient our speech to mimic those that we agree with. It goes beyond using similar vocabulary, which can occur due to a myriad of reasons such as similar interests, education, or living environemnt. Hearing and recognizing the sentence structure of a person with whom you share an opinion can alter your own sentence structure the same way listening to a dialect can. After learning this, I have found that opinion talk is a common speech type in my own life. It is often found during debates about media, politics, special interests which I am knowledgeable about, or philosophy and religion.


Bürki, A. (2018). Variation in the speech signal as a window into the cognitive architecture of language production. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25, 1973–2004.

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