The Language Development in Babies:
Babies are amazing little people! They communicate with their parents and caregivers the moment they are born into this world. Their cries, goos, giggles, and babbles are all ways of communicating their needs and feelings. As parents, we are concerned if our babies are hitting their language milestones. We are also interested in knowing the stages of their language development. I would like to share with you a video from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Developmental Milestones: Baby Talk From First Sounds to First Words talks about the language development of a child from birth to 12 months.
Stage 1: Phonation Stage (0-2 Months)
At this stage, we hear vowels and consonants of your native language. This is also the stage where babies develop differentiated crying (different sounds of crying). Differentiated crying lets us know that babies want to communicate different needs. Differentiated crying also helps us figure out what’s going on with the baby. At this stage, your baby can already recognize your voice and respond with a smile. There are also increases or decreases in sucking behavior in response to different sounds. This is why it is so very important to speak to your baby.
Stage 2: Goo Stage (2-3 Months)
We start to hear the typical cooing and gooing. When we hear these sounds, it says to us that baby’s hearing is okay and he or she is starting to recognize the sounds of his/ her language. Do you know that babies are born with the ability to say all the sounds of all the languages? This is why it is so much easier to learn a foreign language when you are young!
Stage 3: Expansion Stage (4-6 Months)
Babbling starts to sound more speech-like. They are laughing and vocalizing their excitement (and displeasure). Babies move their eyes to the direction of sounds, they’re watching conversations, and they’re starting to listen to music with a different kind of purpose.
Stage 4: Canonical Stage (7-10 Months)
My second son is at this stage! Babbling has both long and short groups of sounds. They’re using non-crying sounds to get and keep your attention. You will notice your baby cough to get your attention. They’re using gestures to communicate and they’re imitating many different speech sounds. This is the best time to teach PEEK-A-BOO to teach the rhythm of conversation. They’re beginning to respond to simple requests. They’re also recognizing words for common objects.
Stage 5: Variegated Babbling (11-12 Months)
We’re hearing very variegated gibberish that has the rhythms and patterns of speech. You’d almost think they are really talking as if they’re speaking a foreign language! Finally, around the very first birthday, your baby has one or two words, although it might take a little while before the sounds become really clear.
“Oh no! My baby is not hitting his/ her milestone!”
If you are worried that your child is not hitting these language milestones, you are not alone! In fact, I could not help but compare my eldest son (Leon) to my youngest son (Lucas). At nine months old, Leon was already saying words such as “mama”, “papa” and “dede”. Lucas can say “mama” at nine months. But I should not worry! Remember that every baby is different!
Have you read the story “Leo the Late Bloomer”? It is about a baby lion who isn’t speaking or doing many things. But when he was ready, wow! He could do so many amazing things!
Speech-language pathologist Nancy Tarshis says that some will hit their milestones early, some a little bit later, while some will be right on time. If your baby seems to be lagging behind, you should talk to your pediatrician and ask whether she recommends a referral to the speech pathologist.
“What can I do to encourage my baby to talk?”
In the meantime, talk to your baby as much as you can! In my family, we also like to read books to Leon and Lucas. Since I am raising my kids to be trilingual, my husband and I read books in English, Filipino, and Italian. It is also helpful to point to the picture in the books and talk about them. This activity helps develop critical thinking and increases knowledge of words and ideas.
Bedtime Book Recommendations (Click to buy on Amazon):
What are your thoughts on this article? I would love to hear your opinions. Please share your thoughts in the comments section!
Read Next: How Do You Study A Foreign Language?