As a parent or a dear one, it is sheer joy to hear a little baby speak words for the first time. Before a child utters a word, he picks up the rules of language and the ways of adult communication. He actually starts talking sometime during the first 2 years after being born. Until then, he makes sounds by using his emerging teeth, palate, lips and tongue, and occasionally “mama” and “papa” might slip out. Here is a timeline for the development of children, from the perspective of speech communication.
According to many researchers, the process of understanding language starts even when babies are in utero. As they get accustomed to the heart beat of their mothers, they get adjusted to the sound of their mama’s voice and can even start distinguishing one voice from another.
Birth – 3 months
His first form of communication is crying, and his cries are different to express different things – such as a staccato cry might indicate a change in diaper while a piercing scream might indicate he is hungry. The older he gets, the more he develops coos, sighs and gurgles. He begins to recognize different words from another, and the way people around him structure sentences.
4 – 6 months
He begins to babble and combine vowels and consonants, uttering ‘yaya’, ‘baba’, ‘dada’, ‘mama’ now and then. He is not able to equate words with objects until almost 1 year in age.
7 – 12 months
His words begin to make sense at times, but that is not because he utters them sensibly. His babbles are mere imitations of your words. You can encourage her to babble more by reading and talking to her.
13 – 18 months
He begins to use a couple of words or more, and knowing what they stand for. He can also practice inflection, and you can find him raising his tone while asking something.
19 – 24 months
He might say less than 2 or 3 sentences, but now understands more than he can verbally express. He can make simple sentences by stringing a few words together. With each passing day, he will pick up more words. Thus, you should watch what you say.
Though she probably says fewer than 50 words, your child now understands much more than she can say. And she picks up more words every day, so watch your language! She may even string two words together, making basic sentences such as “Carry me.” By 2 years, he can sing simple tunes.
25 – 36 months
He might struggle for some time and fumble with words, but will be able to learn quickly enough. By 3 years of age, he will be capable of talking pretty well.