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Stages of Language Development

A child’s progression towards mature language typically occurs in a predictable manner. Obviously every child develops differently but in general a child’s language develops in a foreseeable pattern beginning with babbling and progressing to the ability to adapt to the style and dialect of speech, e.g., using slang with peers but formal conversation with adults.

If you are concerned consider contacting your pediatrician or local government. When my son was in preschool, he did not articulate certain words correctly. Our county offers free assessments. If you qualify (not financially but rather they ascertain whether or not your child has a speech or language impairment), they offer free services, e.g., speech therapist.

Age Stages of Language Development
Birth Babies cry, burp, sneeze and cough.
2 Months Babies’ progress to vowel-like sounds,
e.g., goo aah and ooh.
4 – 6 Months Babies make both vowel and consonants sounds
via babbling, e.g., dadda, mamama
9 – 12 Months Babies’ progress to advanced babbling that contains phrases and rhythm in sentence-like patterns.
Babies’ first word typically occurs around her first birthday with a single syllable word. He may say a double syllable word, e.g., dada or mama. At this stage, most babies only say one word at a time, e.g., no verses no mom.
18 – 24 Months Babies graduate to putting two words together around
one and a half; they use a telegraphic or cryptic speech,
e.g., go park or give milk. A child remains at this stage
for approximately 6 months. It includes neither suffixes
nor distinguishes between singular or plural and it’s
used for request, comments and asking questions.
2 – 5 Years (Preschool Years) Babies’ language development escalates in this stage;
the increase in language development is substantial as
child uses new vocabulary, speaks in sentences and
uses words with more fluency. A child progresses from
simple to more complex sentence structure and grammar.
5 and up (School Age) Babies are no longer babies. As a child moves through
the elementary grades, she will learn more about how our
language works each year. In these years, a child masters
passive usage, parts of speech and suffixes. They also
develop the ability to adapt to a speech style,
e.g., using slang around peers but conversing
with a teacher using formal language.

Source: Rath, L.K., Ed.D & Kennedy, L. (2004). The Between the Lions Book for Parents. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

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