All about children!

Although every child is different, these are some guidelines…

Babies start acquiring language since they are in the womb. But by the time they are 6 months old, they are vocalizing more and they respond when they hear their names!! (how cute is that!).

By their 1st year, they start saying some words or approximation of words. Although these words are not produced perfectly, they use these words with intention and consistently. Around this time they are also able to follow some simple directions such as give me the ball, come here, etc.

Around their 2nd year, their vocabulary explodes! They know about 250 words! (Be careful with what you say, they learn words quickly!). They use 1-2 word sentences.

Between ages 4 and 5, they expand their vocabulary and they learn best through pretend play. They answer basic questions, they can re-tell a story (not many details), and participate in conversation.

Keep in mind that each child is different and they learn differently. So, if your child is not doing some of these things, don’t panic yet!  If you have questions contact your pediatrician, your local school or contact ASHA to find a speech pathologist in your area.

Was this information helpful? Do you have any questions regarding language acquisition in children?


Comments on: "What’s typical language acquisition?" (6)

  1. When you say that 2-year olds “know 250 words,” do you mean that they can say them, or that they recognize them? My 21-month old (who is being raised bilingually, which from the research I’ve done can sometimes slow the initial acquisition of both languages) recognizes at least that many, in both English and Chinese, but he probably only uses about 15-20 words, and has just barely started putting two words together (and in Chinese only… he’s one word at a time only in English right now).

    • I meant understanding. At this age children understand a lot more words than they can say. They learn many words but use less words. This is true for children learning one, two or more languages. It sounds like your child’s language is developing as expected! You are definitely correct about bilingual language acquisition. Bilingual children appear to be learning less words, but in reality they are learning more because they have to double the words learned for each concept! More on that in the future! Thanks for your comment!

      • Thanks for the feedback! We’ve been a little worried about his progress, but we’re trying to put our minds at ease (it’s one thing to know that he’s fine, but there’s still that gnawing “shouldn’t he be doing better than this” feeling sometimes). On the other hand, he runs circles around kids several months older than he, and seems to be a pretty well-adjusted, curious, funny little guy, so we must be doing something right 🙂

      • No problem! From what you said, it seems very typical, so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about! I’ll keep giving information about bilingual language aquisition. Thanks!

  2. Fernando said:

    That explains why my friend was able to teach her toddler English, Spanish, Portugese and even some sign language. They’re like sponges taking in so much information…amazing!

    • Yes! This is the time where they start learning about the world and how to communicate in it. Everything is trial and error. So, the more exposure they get to different places, toys, people and objects, the more words they learn! Thanks for your comment!

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