Adapting a Speech to Context & Task: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mark Boster
When speaking, we use different words for different occasions - we might be trying to persuade, give our audience information, or just entertain people. Each of these requires different types and forms of speech.

Yo Dawg

James wanted to go over to his grandmother's house to visit so he called to see if she was home. When his grandmother answered, he said, 'Yo dawg, what up my BFF? ' She had no idea what he was saying. So he changed his words to something she would understand and said, 'Er, I mean hello grandma, what are you doing this afternoon?' She was doing nothing and said he could go over to her house.

If those two sentences mean basically the same thing, why do you think James's grandma didn't understand the first one? Of course, there are different types of speaking for different times and people. In this lesson, you will learn about four of them you can use to give a speech.

Types of Speaking

When you are with your friends in the neighborhood, you might use different words or type of language than you do in front of your grandmother. If you were going to meet the President of the U.S. or the Queen of England, you would try to use what is called 'standard English'. This is the language you use when you want everyone to understand you.

Some people don't understand slang, the language in many songs or language used in the streets. So when giving a speech, you should use standard language to make sure everyone gets what you're saying. Street language isn't wrong, it is just different.

There are basically four types of speeches you may be asked to give. Let's look at those.

Informational Speeches

The first type of speech you might be asked to give is an informational speech. Like it sounds, you are just going to give information about a subject or topic. For example, if you were asked to tell your class about the life of Abraham Lincoln, you would include facts like his birth date, important things he did in his life, family information, and so on.

Giving facts and figures about President Lincoln would be an informational speech.

Persuasive Speech

If you wanted to get a dog and your mother told you that she didn't want you to have one, you might give a persuasive speech. In this type of speech, you want to try and change someone's mind about something so they come over to your side. In this case, you would try to persuade your mother to let you get a dog. You could tell her things like you would promise to walk the dog three times a day, feed and water it every day, and even clean up the mess in the yard. You also might include relevant facts, such as people with pets have less stress and tend to live longer. You may say all of this to try and get your mom to change her mind.

A persuasive speech tries to convince someone to change their mind or opinion.

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