Talking: Fostering Language Development

When a Sound Becomes a Word

The shift from babbling to real words is a gradual process that takes place in a series of steps. First, many babies invent protowords -- made-up words linking sound to meaning, like saying "muhmuhmuh" to indicate that they want to be picked up.

They begin to use words imprecisely at about 1 year, using a word only in one context or too broadly. For example, when he was 15 months old, Joshua called his rubber toy "frog" but never used the word when he saw a frog in a picture.

Parents Are Talking

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