Receptive Language:
Receptive language refers to how a child comprehends and processes spoken language.  It includes understanding the meaning of words (e.g., volcano, leap, near), sentences (e.g., take out your folder after you finish reading), and stories.  Spoken language differs in its length and complexity.  Receptive language also involves the ability to identify the most important parts of what is heard and to act on it.  Students may exhibit weaknesses in one or several of these areas.  Frequently, these students have difficulty understanding and following directions, don't understand longer, more complex sentences, struggle with abstract language, require frequent clarification and repetitions, and demonstrate difficulty answering questions about and retelling stories.  

Expressive Language:
Expressive language is how a child communicates his/her thoughts, needs, experiences, and opinions.  It refers to the organization, production and context of what the child says, signs, gestures, etc.  Expressive language skills include expressive vocabulary, grammar (morphology/syntax), and oral narrative skills (e.g., organization and sequencing of a story).Like receptive language weaknesses, students may exhibit difficulty with one or multiple areas.  Students may demonstrate difficulty combining words to produce phrases/sentences, using language for a variety of purposes (e.g., commenting, requesting, refusing, etc.), using age-expected grammar, use incorrect words, or organizing their language to tell a story.  

Social/Pragmatic Language:
Social language skills involve using language for different purposes (e.g., greeting, informing, requesting, etc.), changing what  is said based on who is listening (e.g., talking differently to friends than to teachers, giving background information to unfamiliar listeners, etc.), and following conversational rules (e.g., turn-taking, staying on topic, understanding nonverbal signals).