话 (huà) can be used to refer to speech, or the essence of verbal communication in general. You
can refer to words, a conversation, the words spoken by another, a dialect or language of any
given region and use 话 to do it. An example would be 上海话 (shànghǎihuà), or "Shanghainese."
(As you may know, there are many dialects. 普通话 (pǔtōnghuà) literally means "common language" or "the speech common to all")