yes, therapy helps!
The 14 types of language disorders

The 14 types of language disorders

September 22, 2022

Language is one of the most important capacities of human beings, to the point that in ancient times it was considered one of the main factors that identified us as human beings.

Communicating, expressing what we think and feel, and the various uses that can be given to such communication, is something innate in part, but must be trained throughout our lives. But sometimes there may be different problems that cause either the acquisition is not correct or is lost for some reason. So, we can identify different types of language disorders . In this article we are going to see some of the main ones.

  • Related article: "The 28 types of communication and their characteristics"

Language disorders

It is understood by language disorders all that difficulty or absence in the comprehension, expression or repetition of the language in its different aspects that generate problems in the adaptation of the subject to the environment and / or significant discomfort. These problems may arise during the period in which the skill is acquired and enhanced, or as a loss of the skill already acquired.


Although we generally identify language with speech, and in fact this is an important part of the language, we must bear in mind that in the latter also involved paraverbal components such as tone, context appropriateness or fluency and nonverbal like gestures and mimicry.

Based on what has been said, we can see that there are many problems that can arise in any of these areas, there being different types of language disorders.

  • Related article: "The 8 types of speech disorders"

Main types of language disorders

Below we briefly review some of the most common and known language disorders. In this review we include both oral and written language disorders and both comprehension and production .


However, although they affect communication, language disorders are not properly considered those that are not confined to this area, such as selective mutism (which is a problem of anxiety and not language, which is perfectly preserved). Nor are disorders such as autism included in language disorders, although in this case they do have language difficulties (some of them included in the disorders that follow).

1. Language disorder

Formerly known as Specific Language Disorder or TEL, the language disorder is characterized by the presence of problems in the understanding and / or expression of language in subjects with typical intellectual abilities in subjects of the same age, with which said problems would not be consequence of an intellectual disability.

The grammatical structure and the lexicon are affected , being the discourse usually less verbose and more limited than usual.


2. Functional dyslalia or phonological disorder

The phonological disorder, formerly known as dyslalia, is an oral language problem in which articulation difficulties occur , making language somewhat incomprehensible and limiting social participation. It can not emit certain sounds correctly, and it usually makes substitutions, transformations and omissions of these. The phonological disorder can not be due to organic causes, which equates it with the old functional dyslalia.

3. Dysarthria

It is considered dysarthria to that difficulty in the articulation of the language produced by a brain disorder or located in the nerve fibers that regulate the articulation and production of language. It is considered a type of organic dyslalia.

  • You may be interested: "Parts of the human brain (and functions)"

4. Dysglossia

The dysglossia is an organic dyslalia produced by morphological alterations that prevent or hinder the normal use of language and correct pronunciation. An example is found in people with cleft lip or facial malformations. As well It is considered a type of organic dislalia .

5. Fluency disorder or dyspnea

The also known as stuttering is a relatively common problem in childhood, although in some cases it becomes chronic. The main problem is in the difficulties in the fluency with which speech occurs, accentuating especially in the presence of the public.

In his speech, the subject suffers different blocks that interrupt the habitual rhythm of speech , be one abrupt at the beginning of the word, several small spasms along a word or phrase or a mixture of both. They tend to generate great anxiety and sometimes avoidance.

6. Social communication disorder

Also called pragmatic communication disorder, it is based on the existence of difficulties when using language in a manner appropriate to the context.There are no problems in comprehension or emission, but to use the correct language at the right time.

It is common for the subject not to understand why in certain contexts to use one language or another is more or less appropriate, that there are difficulties in understanding metaphors and analogies , look for second meanings or find different ways of expressing the same idea, being the language usually literal. Also, not only happens with oral language, but also with the gestural.

This symptomatology is common in subjects with autism and Asperger's .

7. Aphasias and dysphasias

Aphasias are all those alterations in which there is loss or difficulty to produce, understand or repeat the language due to the existence of a brain injury, this ability being previously acquired and deficits occurring only later.

Its infant equivalent is the dysphasia, in which these problems are faced with a skill that has not yet been consolidated and which often can not develop completely due to brain injury . In the latter case it is sometimes difficult to differentiate from other problems, since there is no fixed baseline regarding language ability: the child has not yet learned or has not yet learned to communicate.

Within this group of disorders there are many variants, depending on the area injured and the effect it has on communication and language.

  • You may be interested: "The 6 types of aphasia (causes, symptoms and characteristics)"

8. Dyslexia and alexia

One of the most known language disorders, but in this case written language. Dyslexia is the difficulty for literacy in which the subject has problems to understand what you read or perform the action of reading . The lyrics are mixed and substitutions, omissions and translations are made, the reading slows down and in general there are difficulties to understand what was read.

Dyslexia can be superficial (in which there are problems when reading globally the words), phonological (in which the person has difficulty reading by associating the pagraphia with its equivalent in the form of a phoneme, which only reads from the form of the word) or deep (a mixture of the previous two, which appears together with semantic problems).

The alexia supposes the total incapacity for this ability due to a cerebral injury.

9. Hyperlexia

This problem is characterized by a great ability for quick reading, but usually with poor comprehension and retention of the material read.

10. Dysgraphia and agraphia

Dysgraphia is understood as the difficulty to produce written language, there are problems when coding and generating letters, words or phrases. There are problems in the ability to organize in the writing space, copy difficulties, motor problems at the level of using a pencil and other similar skills, problems to transfer thoughts and messages to written language , spell in writing, use different typographies and spelling among others. It would be the equivalent of dyslexia but at the production level.

As for agraphia, it refers to the inability for these skills derived from a brain injury, in adults.

11. Disortography

A problem in which the main deficit occurs when correctly writing the content of the message we want to produce. Sometimes also called dyslexic dysgraphia , writing errors occur that affect the correct layout of the spellings according to orthographic rules.

12. Glossolalia

Use of an invented language by the subject, being incomprehensible to listeners , in which new terms are generated at the same time that there is amatism.

13. Taquifemia

Speech disorder in which the subject speaks excessively fast, to the point that there is a flight of words and continuous errors derived from the great speed at which it is spoken.

14. Disorders of mimicry

Although usually not considered as language disorders the truth is that at the level of non-verbal language, mime can be a fundamental element of communication . Dysmimia supposes the lack of cohesion between what is expressed and what is thought or felt. Hypomimia is the presence of a number of reduced movements and the amimia of absence of expression through movement. On the contrary, hypermimias are exaggerated expressions of movements.

Bibliographic references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
  • Belloch, Sandín and Ramos (2008). Manual of Psychopathology. Madrid. McGraw-Hill. (Vol 1 and 2) Revised edition.
  • Santos, J.L. (2012). Psychopathology. CEDE Preparation Manual PIR, 01. CEDE: Madrid.

Overview of possible causes and types of problems in speech development (September 2022).


Similar Articles