Literacy, Little Kids

Baby Talk: From First Sounds to First Words (Language Development)


The Language Development in Babies:

Stages of 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!
Leo the Late Bloomer
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):

llama llama red pajama

goodnight moon

the going to bed book

I hope you enjoyed reading this article! Please like my Facebook Page or add me on Instagram if you like reading more posts on literacy or if you’d like to get to know my little kids!

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?

Lucy At Home

Lifestyle, Literacy

How Do You Learn A Foreign Language?

Do You Need To Study A Foreign Language?

Do you know that majority of the people around the world speak more than one language? According to the Guardian, most Europeans speak multiple languages. As a Filipino, I am fluent in two languages: Filipino (Tagalog) and English. I am trying to learn Italian without going to a formal language school.

study foreign language

The Need To Learn the Italian Language

I started learning the Italian language last year when we relocated to Italy. In order to survive daily life and pass a requirement for permanent residency, I have to learn Italian in two years!

Fun Fact: Do you know that the Italian language originated in Tuscany? It was the language spoken in Firenze and Pisa, and it was an alternative to Latin during the middle ages!


Language Learning As An Adult

It is so much harder for adults to learn a new language! Children have an easier time learning a language because their brains are wired to absorb information so easily. But I am not going to let my age stop me from learning something new.

(Daily prompt: age)

What Language Experts Say About Learning A Foreign Language

There are two perspectives in language teaching: the Linguistic Perspective (form) and the Sociolinguistic Perspective (function).

The Linguistic Perspective hopes to have learners use the target language correctly, while the Sociolinguistic Perspective hopes to make learners use the language fluently.

Linguistic Approach:

  1. Lexical focus: vocabulary and their meanings
  2. Syntactic focus: rules of grammar and sentence patterns

In the linguistic approach, learners learn the structure of the language.

Sociolinguistic Approach:

1. Functional focus: social functions (e.g. initiating conversations, ordering in a restaurant) and expressive functions (e.g. when we give an opinion or when we express an emotion)

2. Conceptual focus: concepts (e.g. notions of time, notions of relations)

3. Focus on rules of use: appropriate language use ( you must know not only what to say, but also how to say it)

4. Focus on tasks: doing tasks that require you to be creative and to take risks

5. Focus on content: learning language for a specific field (e.g. science)

(Source: Second Language Teaching by T. Ruanni Tupas, 2009.)

I think that both perspectives are important in language learning. You need to build your knowledge of words and grammar rules. You also need to know the appropriate words to use at a certain time. For example, “Ciao” is a friendly expression for “hello” or “bye”,  “salve” is a more neutral greeting, while “buon giorno” and “arrivederci” are used in a formal situation. The use of gestures is also important in Italy, as well as your manner of speaking.

I found that the best way for me to learn a new language is to actually become immersed in the social environment of native speakers. I pick up words from people I meet in the grocery store or on the train. Most Italians in my city are very helpful in explaining what they mean, either by translating into English or accompanying their words with gestures.

I also learn from my mistakes. This is a good way to learn since linguistic errors are part of the language learning process.

 I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, and I learn better when I see things, do things, and write things.

Resources That Help Me Learn Italian

First, I downloaded a free language app called Duolingo, which was useful in teaching me common Italian words and expressions. The problem with the app is I could not seem to continue my streak for more than three days. I get bored with it after ten minutes of use, and I easily get distracted by other forms of social media (since I am using my phone). The good news is that it is constantly being updated to motivate learners! It can be a useful supplement if you can use it every day.


Instagram has also helped me learn Italian while I am scrolling through my feed.  

Idrawitalian  is a graphic designer and she creates attractive visual language aids in Italian:

The – definite articles in italian

A post shared by Teaching Myself Italiano (@idrawitalian) on

Another account I follow is Simpsons.Italian. I seem to remember things better when there’s humor involved!

This is the Italian-English dictionary that I often use. Although I also use Google Translate, I feel a certain satisfaction when I thumb through the pages of a book. I also highlight commonly used words or words that stand out to me.


What are your reasons for learning another language? What are you doing to help you learn it? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Read Next: What Do Italians Have For Breakfast?

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