What are the different Stages of Language Development in Children

Language development is a process which takes place from the very early life and in most instances, the stages of its development can be predicted and therefore re-enforced or evaluated for various needs. The developmental stages in relation to the receptive language development (ability to listen and understand) and expressive language development (ability to speak and use language) will have varied maturity levels and therefore should be considered separately when trying to understand the different stages of language development in children.

Developmental stages of ‘receptive language development’ in children:

The receptive language development seems to start at birth and this is apparent due to the fact that, newborn babies cry in response to unexpected noises. It means that, the babies are listening to their surrounding and what people talk, the noises made and its intensity can make an effect even in the newborn.

During the first three months, the baby will learn to turn towards the person speaking as well as smile when they hear a voice. They will increasingly show awareness to familiar voices while unfamiliar voices will also be listened to by being still.

In the next couple of months, from 4th to the 6th month, the babies will show an increased responsiveness towards voice, its tone as well as other noises such as the ones emanating from toys. They will show interest and apprehension when they hear a new noise.

During the months leading up to one year, the baby will start to listen when spoken to and will respond by turning and looking at the parents face when called by name. At the same time, babies between the age of 7 months and 1 year will recognize words such as ‘daddy’, ‘car’, ‘eyes’…etc and will also respond to simple requests or questions in their own way.

During the stage from the first year birthday to the second, children will grow to understand simple questions and following simple instructions while they will also be able to point to a picture book and to body parts when named. They will develop an increasing interest to listen to simple stories and rhymes while they like to listen to the same thing over and over again for a lengthy period.

During the 2nd to 3rd year, the toddlers will begin to understand two stage commands while they are now able to contrast between concepts such as hot and cold. This is the time period where the child starts to answer the telephone when it rings and opens the door as the door bell rings.

After the 3rd year, the child will start understanding the meaning of who, what and where questions along with having a far distant hearing range than what they had earlier. Further from this age, the child will develop the ability to understand almost anything that they were told including the meanings of stories and will have the ability to describe them to a certain extent.

Developmental stages of ‘expressive language development’ in children:

As with receptive language development, the expressive language development will also start from birth itself and this is understandable when hearing the sounds made by a newborn baby in response to pleasure or pain.

Crying will be one of the main modes of communication in the next couple of months as different situations will warrant different types of cries. At the same time, babbling noises or pre-linguistic noises will be heard when the baby is content. The babbling noises will grow up to the age of about 7 months and closer to this age the baby will make use of babbling noises to tell the parents something or to demand certain things. Adding consonant sounds will start to happen by about 5 months and these will include sounds such as ba-ba, ma-ma, and da-da.

Between 7th to 12th month, the baby will be able to add more consonants to the voice along with short and long vowels. The first words of the baby will also appear during this time and these can include words such as ‘mama’, bye bye’…etc.

During the months leading up to the babies second birthday, he or she will acquire more and more words and they will now be able to combine two words and ask questions as well as to make sentences. Gradually, the words will start to appear clear.

By the 2nd and 3rd year, the child will be able to utter one to three word sentences and will have enough words to drive everyone mad. The speech is understandable to the family and it is possible to recognize how the child now starts to mention attributes of a certain object or an item such as in the case of expressive the size of the elephant by saying, ‘big elephant’.

Gradually the child will start expressive multi word sentences with a subject and a predicate which will further evolve in the next couple of years and by the age of 4 to 5 the child will be able to construct long and detailed sentences and express short stories to the listeners.