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11.10: Language milestones in the first two years

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    This table summarizes some of the typical language development milestones that children reach in the first two years of life. Remember, though, that language learning is not a race! Children vary immensely from each other, and with appropriate access to other humans using language, nearly every child will develop a mental grammar in due time.

    Age Babies can…
    Before birth respond differently to pregnant parent’s voice than other voices (hearing fetuses only).
    0;0 respond differently to prosody of pregnant parent’s spoken language than to other language (hearing infants only).
    0;6 notice differences in handshapes (sighted infants only) and speech segments (hearing infants only).
    0;6 begin to produce rhythmic babbling with syllable structure.
    0;9 produce first words (sign-acquiring babies).
    1;0 categorize phonetically different segments into phoneme categories of the ambient language.
    1;0 understand meanings of about ten common words.
    1;0 produce first words (speech-acquiring babies).
    1;2 interpret novel words differently depending on syntactic category.
    1;3 assign compositional meaning depending on syntactic structure.
    1;6 produce utterances of two or three words.
    1;6 understand meanings of about 50 words.
    2;0 interpret meanings for novel verbs depending on syntactic frames.
    2;0 ask questions.

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