How is the development of children's language

First, we will make a brief description of the two periods in the child’s language development: the preverbal and the verbal.


Preverbal period

  • It starts with crying
  • 6 weeks-3 months: makes gurgling, squeaking, and guttural sounds
  • 6-10 months: makes babbling that arises from accidental imitation and then becomes a conscious imitation to which they finally give their own meaning
  • 6-7 months : discriminate sounds from their mother tongue
  • 9 months: communicates with gestures and plays (points …)
  • 9-12 months : communicates with more elaborate gestures such as saying goodbye or not
  • 10-12 months : no longer distinguishes sounds other than their language
  • 12-13 months : the first word appears and communicates with symbolic gestures


Verbal period

  • 12 months: the first word is given which is usually ” mama ” or ” papa ”
  • 18 months: first sentences of telegraphic speech, modifiers are added such as ” Where mom? ” ” No porridge ”. Between 12 and 18 months, children use language adaptation mechanisms that facilitate speech, for example saying “semaso” instead of traffic light or “pete” for a pacifier.
  • 2 and a half years: makes more complex sentences with about 3 words although the syntax is still very imperfect
  • 4-5 years: sentences with an average of 4-5 words, inject adverbs into their language and use more verbs
  • 5-6 years: sentences with 6-8 much more elaborate words
  • Their speech becomes similar to that of an adult aged 6 or 7


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On what does it depend that children learn to speak and communicate?

It depends on the same factors that affect the child’s development, heredity, maturation, environment, and cognitive and emotional factors.

If the child is healthy, it is not damaged in aspects that directly affect the development of language (sensory organs, speech apparatus, neurological and cognitive factors …) and lives in a socio-emotional environment that provides information and sufficient attachment, language appears alone and naturally .


How to stimulate language development  

  1. Create routines where the child recognizes the communicative situation
  2. Anticipate what the child is going to say based on his signals (sensitivity in communication)
  3. Give the children more time to speak
  4. Strategies that make it possible to repair misunderstandings , that is, ask for clarifications or repeat interrogatively
  5. Correctly interpret the child’s speech attempts
  6. Offer an appropriate linguistic model that prolongs children’s emissions
  7. Encourage children’s participation in conversations and provide social contact
  8. Give children plenty of answers when they ask questions, this reinforces their participation

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