Age-by-Age Guide to Your Child's Language Skills

Babies are born programmed to learn language, and are actually quite adept at it. Their built-in language ability follows a universal timetable, one that transcends ethnicity and socioeconomic class. Here's an overview of what to listen for and when in your child's language development.

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Fancy Photography/ Veer

2 Months

Cooing; making long vowel sounds like "oo," "aa," and "ee."

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PhotoAlto/ Matton

6 Months

Babbling using consonants.

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Fancy Photography/ Veer

7.5 Months

Recognizing familiar words or names.

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Image Source/ Veer

10 Months

Pointing, grunting, and gazing to get her demands met; using her own invented words.

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12 Months

Saying his first real words, such as "Mama" and "Dada," a sibling's name, body parts, animal names, or noises like "woof, woof."

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Kathryn Gamble

14 Months

Identifying objects; following simple one-step commands like "Get the ball."

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Fancy Photography/Veer

18 Months

Saying 50 words; using verbs; asking "What's that?" to get name recognition.

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24 Months

Speaking in two-word sentences, such as "Drink milk" or "Play ball"; using the words "no" and "mine" frequently.

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2.5 Years

Conveying whole thoughts by employing just a few words, like saying "Mommy no socks" for "Mommy isn't wearing any socks today."

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Image Source/ Veer

3 Years

Speaking in longer sentences; putting several thoughts together to tell a story; using about 300 words; following a story line and remembering ideas from it; enjoying nonsense phrases.

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Fancy Photography/Veer

4 Years

Having extensive conversations with adults; using adjectives in detailed sentences; telling knock-knock jokes; asking questions with proper intonation.

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5 Years

Using expressive vocabulary of 2,500 words; understanding 14,000 words; expressing complicated thoughts like fears and dreams; saying "thank you"; using words to elicit reactions from others.

Copyright © 2010 Meredith Corporation.

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