- The first stage of language development is known as the prelinguistic, babbling or cooing stage. During this period, which typically lasts from the age of three to nine months, babies begin to make vowel sounds such as oooooo and aaaaaaa. By five months, infants typically begin to babble and add consonant sounds to their sounds such as ba-ba-ba, ma-ma-ma or da-da-da.
2. Single Words:
- The second stage is known as the one-word or holophase stage of language development. Around the age of 10 to 13 months, children will begin to produce their first real words. While children are only capable of producing a few, single words at this point, it is important to realize that they are able to understand considerably more. Infants begin to comprehend language about twice as fast as they are able to produce it.
3. Two Words:
- The third stage begins around the age of 18 months, when children begin to use two word sentences. These sentences usually consist of just nouns and verbs, such as “Where daddy?” and “Puppy big!”
4. Multi-word Sentences:
- Around the age of two, children begin to produce short, multi-word sentences that have a subject and predicate. For example, a child might say “Mommy is nice” or “Want more candy.”
Language learning starts at birth. Even new babies are aware of the sounds in the environment.
They listen to the speech of those close to them, and startle or cry if there is an unexpected noise. Loud noises wake them, and they become “still” in response to new sounds.
Astoundingly, between 0-3 months babies learn to turn to you when you speak, and smile when they hear your voice. In fact, they seem to recognise your familiar voice, and will quieten at the sound of it if they are crying. Tiny babies under three months will also stop their activity and attend closely to the sound of an unfamiliar voice. They will often respond to comforting tones whether the voice is familiar or not.
Then, some time between 4 to 6 months babies respond to the word “no”. They are also responsive to changes in your tone of voice, and to sounds other than speech. For example, they can be fascinated by toys and other objects that make sounds, enjoy music and rhythm, and look in an interested or apprehensive way for the source of all sorts of new sounds such as the toaster, birdsong, the clip-clop of horses’ hooves or the whirr of machines.
The 7 to 12 months timeframe is exciting and fun as the baby now obviously listens when spoken to, turns and looks at your face when called by name, and discovers the fun of games like: “round and round the garden”, “peep-oh”, “I see” and “pat-a-cake” (These simple games and finger plays have regional names and variants).
It is in this period that you realise that he or she recognises the names of familiar objects (“Daddy”, “car”, “eyes”, “phone”, “key”) and begins to respond to requests (“Give it to Granny”) and questions (“More juice?”).
Now your child points to pictures in a book when you name them, and can point to a few body parts when asked (nose, eyes, tummy).
He or she can also follow simple commands (“Push the bus!”, “Don’t touch; it’s hot!”) and understand simple questions (“Where’s the bunny?”, “Who likes Miffy?”, “What’s in your purse?”).
Your toddler now likes listening to simple stories and enjoys it when you sing songs or say rhymes.
This is a stage in which he or she will want the same story, rhyme or game repeated many times