The stages of language development

5-9 months

  • They distinguish the tone of voice
  • They are distracted by toys that make sounds and try to imitate them
  • They vary their crying according to the need they want to express
  • They produce the first consonants and create series of sounds, which they repeat
  • They produce sounds that come from the lips and the tongue
  • They acquire prosodic elements in their utterances. They begin to distinguish the pitch and intensity of the voice.
  • They associate their first vocabulary, which consists of vowel and consonant sequences, with various events and thus give meaning to their utterances.


13-20 months

  • They develop listening skills and listen to learn
  • They respond to hearing everyday familiar words
  • They turn when they hear their name
  • They respond to games with songs
  • They begin to realize that there are better ways than crying to get what they want
  • They acquire musicality in their speech as well as monosyllabic or bisyllabic fixed sounds
  • They begin to associate their first words with faces
  • They try to imitate various sounds such as animals, means of transport etc
  • They use short words without proper articulation


18 months-2 years

  • Comprehension of speech is almost complete, which will allow morphological or syntactic production of speech to begin
  • They understand simple instructions
  • They listen to the conversations of others from a distance and understand simple speech
  • They use short phrases
  • They name objects and actions of their daily life
  • They chat to themselves or to their toys
  • They use telegraphic speech, short sentences with only the basic information
  • Their sentences consist of active verbs, nouns and prepositions
  • Most children by the age of 2 learn about 50 new words per month
  • A difference is observed in the rate of language development of boys and girls, with girls ahead


3-4 years old

  • They answer the call from the other room
  • They are interested in the sounds of the house and the environment
  • They like to listen to fairy tales and follow them with ease
  • They ask questions
  • They answer questions and perform complex commands
  • They use the prepositions and the plural
  • They participate in discussions
  • They narrate their events and experiences in the present
  • They speak about 300 words and understand 1,000
  • Due to the difficulty in expressing their thoughts correctly, they face the risk of developing normal stuttering


4-5 years old

  • They have a rich vocabulary exceeding 1,000 words
  • They use sentences of 8 or more words
  • They have correct grammar and syntax in their speech
  • They can ask questions and express refusal
  • They refer to the past and the future
  • They have correct articulation, perhaps missing /p/ and clusters
  • Stories are told
  • They are understood by all


6 years and older

  • The child’s speech has developed
  • Pronounce all sounds and clusters correctly
  • Their speech is free of grammatical and syntactical errors
  • They are ready to come into contact with the written word
  • They use 2,500 words and understand about 6,000
  • They have developed the skill of time orientation and can, using temporal expressions, tell stories and events with a beginning, middle and end
  • They acquire logical thinking
  • They have developed pragmatic skills and adapt their speech based on the age and knowledge of the interlocutor