What is a Speech?

What Does Speech Mean

A speech is a form of communication in which a sender constructs a message and transmits it to a receiver using a code (which is usually language ) through a channel , which can be oral or written.



A more specific concept of speech refers to the action that a person performs when speaking to an audience and delivering a previously prepared message. This type of discourse seeks to provide guidance on a topic and is developed in such a way that it captures the interest of the public.

Speeches are often made at political, economic or academic events, and many rely on computer resources such as slide shows, videos, or images.

The word discourse is also usually related to the word story, in reference to the cultural and ideological content that a person or group professes . For example: when speaking of a liberal, Marxist or modern discourse .

See also: Interpersonal communication

Direct and indirect speech

The term discourse also refers to the postulates that communicate information thrown by an individual or group. Depending on its characteristics, the speech can be:

  • Direct speech. Sentence that expresses and reproduces in a verbatim way the words of an individual. It is usually expressed in quotation marks, preceded by hyphens or a colon. For example: "I want to play by the river" or Mateo: I want to play by the river.
  • Indirect speech. Sentence that indirectly reproduces the words of an individual by adapting verb tenses, personal pronouns and temporal references. It is usually introduced with the verb say, express, ensure, among others, followed by the conjunction that. For example: He says he wants to play by the river (present tense if it is played simultaneously with Matthew's speech) or He said he wants to play by the river (past tense if it is played after the original speech).

Follow in: Direct and indirect speech

Speech characteristics

  • Precise. You must present a topic and your arguments in a way that can be understood by the audience.
  • Verifiable. It must be based on verifiable facts that justify and give validity to the speech, except in some cases such as religious or artistic speech.
  • Specialized. It must focus on an area and be directed to the ideal audience that can interpret it and be useful.
  • Original. You must use your own resources and have creative, unique and innovative points of view
  • Structured. You must organize the information in a clear and orderly way to be interpreted by the listeners or readers.
  • Attractive. It should grab the attention of the audience, keep it active and, in many cases, motivate them to action.
  • Multi content. It can have various types of information and be supplemented with audiovisual resources.
  • Multi platform. It can be transmitted to the audience orally or in writing.

Parts of the speech

The parts of the classic speech were established in the Rhetorica ad Herennium, treatise that reunites the main guidelines of the oratory and the speech written in 90 a. C. (approximately) by unknown author.

  • Exordium. The speaker seeks to capture the audience's attention.
  • Narratio. The speaker introduces the topic to be discussed in the speech.
  • Divisio. The speaker develops his point of view and defends his theory or argument on the issue at hand.
  • I confirmed. The speaker presents his arguments and the evidence on which they are based.
  • Refutatio. He presents the evidence which is rejected by the other arguments against his.
  • Conclusion. The speaker raises the conclusions of the above and the steps to follow.

In addition, there is a widely used classification that divides speech into:

  • Introduction . The subject to be discussed is presented.
  • Developing. Existing arguments on the question are postulated.
  • Outcome. The most relevant ideas are synthesized and the contribution of the analysis of the exposed argumentation is highlighted .

The disciplines that study discourse

Being a very broad concept, several disciplines or sciences study and analyze discourse. First, the linguistic studies the speech as a form of language written or oral , that is, the text or conversation. As for communication they charge the anthropology and ethnography .

For the philosophy , speech responds to a social system of ideas or thoughts and within the psychology , in the area of psychoanalysis, discourse is based on a logical question.

The types of speeches

The types of speech can be differentiated according to certain criteria:

According to the structure :

  • Narrative speech. It refers to events that are expressed in a context of time and space and that can be real or imaginary.
  • Descriptive speech. Try to show the characteristics of what is expressed without issuing a personal assessment.
  • Expository speech. Report something objective, clear and orderly.
  • Argumentative speech. Try to convince or persuade about something.

According to the area:

  • Political speech. It communicates the bases and political proposals of a space and seeks to convince the audience.
  • Religious speech. Communicate the foundations of a creed through the dogmas of faith that govern a religion to generate fidelity and attract followers.
  • Publicity speech. It communicates the particularities of a good or service and aims to convince the audience to acquire it in the market.
  • Business speech. It communicates the decisions, plans or projects of an organization or company and seeks to motivate employees, customers and suppliers.
  • Academic speech. It communicates news or proposals within the scope of a school or university, its function is to communicate and generate community among the members of the organization.
  • Artistic speech. It communicates emotions and feelings of a subjective nature, its function is to transmit and entertain.

The functions of speech

Various functions of language can be combined in speech.

Depending on the position taken by the speaker, the language within the discourse takes different forms and functions:

  • Expressive function. When the message appeals to express a feeling.
  • Appellate function. When the message seeks to attract the attention of the listener and provoke a response.
  • Poetic function. When the speech prioritizes the form of the message.
  • Informative or referential function. When the message provides objective information.
  • Convincing function. When the message seeks to sell a good or service.
  • Entertainment function. When the message seeks to amuse or relax.
Go up