Typical Language Development

Typical Language Development


Receptive Language (understanding)

Birth to 3 months

  • startles to loud sounds
  • appears to recognize familiar voices and is comforted
  • smiles when spoken to

4 – 6 months

  • turns head/eyes to locate source of sounds
  • enjoys toys with lights/sounds

7 – 12 months

  • enjoys peek-a-boo
  • recognizes own name
  • recognizes names for common items like "bottle, juice"
  • is responding to some simple requests such as "wave bye-bye-bye, no, come here"

1 – 2 years

  • identifies body parts by pointing
  • follows simple commands and understands
  • Simple questions "throw ball, where's shoes?"
  • identifies objects/people in pictures/books

2 – 3 years

  • follows 2 step commands "get the book and put on the chair"
  • understands spatial concepts (in, out, of) and descriptive concepts (big, little)

3 – 4 years

  • understands pronouns he/she, him/her
  • identifies colors by pointing
  • understands quantity concepts (one vs. more than one)
  • answers simple "who questions 'where, what, who, when?

4 – 5 years

  • listens to short stories and answers questions about it

Express language (talking/communicating)

Birth – 3 months

  • smiles at familiar face
  • makes cooing pleasure sounds

4 – 6 months

  • begins to make "babble" sounds with p, b, m
  • vocalizes when alone and when playing with caregiver

7 – 12 months

  • uses vocalizations to get attention vs. crying
  • babbles different syllable strings
  • uses simple gestures to express wants (raises arms to be picked up)
  • has a vocabulary of 1 or 2 words (bye-bye, mama, dada)

1 – 2 years

  • gains new vocabulary every month
  • uses pointer finger to express wants/needs
  • asks questions "what's that?, where daddy?"
  • puts two words together (my shoe)

2 – 3 years

  • uses words for most all communication
  • speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time
  • uses 2 – 4 word phrases to talk about events

3 – 4 years

  • tells about activities at school
  • speech is greater than 75% intelligible to all listeners
  • uses many sentences containing 4 or more words in each

4 – 5 years

  • uses descriptive concepts in conversation (the pink dress is my favorite)
  • able to tell make-believe stories
  • uses correct verb tenses

Typical Speech Sound Development


By age 2:

  • H as in he
  • M as in mama
  • N as in no
  • P as in up
  • B as in be
  • D as in do

By age 3:

  • Zh as in measure
  • Y as in yes
  • W as in we
  • Ng as in sing
  • T as in to
  • K as in car
  • G as in go

By age 3 years 6 months:

  • F as in if

By age 4:

  • L as in lay
  • Sh as in she
  • Ch as in chew

By age 4 years 6 months:

  • J as in jaw
  • S as in so
  • Z as in is

By age 5:

  • R as in red

By age 6:

  • V as in Vegemit

By age 8:

  • Th as in this

By age 8 years 6 months:

  • Th as in thing

Source: http://speech-language-therapy.com/acquisition.html