Language Skills Development

Language Skills Development

Long before your baby can actually talk, or form understandable words, they are learning language skills, by gurgling and making various sounds.

These rudimentary skills will very soon be replaced by actual words and sentences, and before you know it you will have a child who can communicate, reason, tell stories and gets involved in lively discussions with you.

Below are the language milestones you can expect:

Birth to 3 Months

  • Babies will respond to the person talking to them
  • Recognise the voice of their mother
  • They will react to different tones
  • Start copying sounds
  • Babies communicate through the movement of their bodies, by babbling, laughing or crying

3 Months to 6 Months

  • Babies start ‘talking’ back to people they know, and are comfortable with
  • They will copy facial expressions
  • They will try and copy the sounds they hear
  • They will start noticing the sounds that they make
  • Smile when spoken to
  • Star vocalising their specific needs

6 months to 9 months

  • They will start to laugh at themselves when playing
  • Imitate vowel sounds, such as ‘Mama” or ‘dada’
  • Associate gestures with word, such as ‘bye bye’ and waving their hand
  • They will express themselves vocally by laughing if they are happy or screaming if they are annoyed
  • They will babble constantly, and learn how to self sooth

9 months to 12 months

  • Babies will vocalise to attract attention
  • They communicate with sounds
  • Recognised their own name, those of familiar people and objects
  • Can understand simple instructions, like ‘no”!
  • Can say a couple of words and use them in the right context

1 year to 2 years

  • Understand the meaning of several words
  • Babble certain words continuously
  • React to instructions, like ‘eat your food’
  • Responds correctly when asked, “where?’
  • Copying and saying many words correctly
  • Understands that they are an individual, by using words like, ‘me’, ‘mine’ or ‘my’
  • Repeats words that you say to them

2 years to 3 years

  • They talk to themselves continuously
  • Learn new words all the time and has a vocabulary of about 200 words
  • They can point to objects when you say the name
  • They start to combine words and make phrases
  • Respond to simple questions
  • They enjoy being read too, and will ask for their favourite story
  • They can tell you what happened during the day, when prompted

3 years to 4 years

  • They speak in sentences
  • Will constantly be asking questions
  • Will talk to themselves or an imaginary friend while playing
  • They start to understand the concept time, like ‘tomorrow we will go to the park’
  • Can understand instructions, and can follow between 2 and 4 instructions in sequence
  • Understands comparisons, such as ‘tall’ and ‘small’
  • Can remember and sing nursery rhymes

4 years to 5 years

  • Can count up to 20
  • Will correct grammar, most of the time.
  • Understand the past, present and future and uses them in the correct context
  • Can have a conversation
  • They can retell a story correctly
  • They can verbalise what they are thinking
  • Increased concentration span
  • They understand sequencing of events, like ‘first you put your underwear on, then your clothes, then socks and finally shoes, to get dressed’

5 years to 6 years

  • Fluently pronounce most of the sounds of their first language
  • They speak fluently and with confidence

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Recommended Reading:
Language development skills

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