Ages & Stages: Language Development in Children

by The Child Development Institute

The following represents typical language development in children ages 18 months to 7 years old.  Please note, there is a wide range of normal development. Most children will not follow the chart to the letter; please use this as a guideline. If your child seems significantly behind in language development, you should talk with his or her physician regarding your questions and concerns.

18 Months

• Has vocabulary of approximately five to 20 words

• Vocabulary made up chiefly of nouns

• Some repeating of a word or phrase over and over

• Much jargon with emotional content

• Is able to follow simple commands

2 Years

• Can name a number of objects common to his or her surroundings

• Is able to use at least two prepositions, usually chosen from the following: in,   on, under

• Combines words into short sentences, largely noun-verb combinations, with     (mean) length of

  sentences 1.2 words

• Approximately 2/3 of what a child says should be intelligible

• Vocabulary of approximately 150 to 300 words

• Rhythm and fluency often poor

• Volume and pitch of voice not yet well-controlled

• Can use two pronouns correctly: I, me, you, although me and I are often confused

• My and mine are beginning to emerge

• Responds to such commands as “show me your eyes (nose, mouth, hair)”

4 Years

• Knows names of familiar animals

• Can use at least four prepositions or can demonstrate his understanding of      their meaning when given commands

• Names common objects in pictures, books or magazines

• Knows one or more colors

• Can repeat four digits when they are given slowly

• Can usually repeat words of four syllables

• Demonstrates understanding of over and under

• Has most vowels and diphthongs and the consonants p, b, m, w, n well             established

• Often indulges in make-believe

• Extensive verbalization as he carries out activities

• Understands such concepts as longer, larger, when a contrast is presented

• Readily follows simple commands even though the stimulus objects are not     in sight

• Much repetition of words, phrases, syllables and sounds

6 Years

• In addition to the above consonants, these should be mastered: f, v, sh, zh, th, l

• Speech should be completely intelligible and socially useful

• Should be able to tell a rather connected story about a picture, seeing relationships between objects and happenings

7 Years

• Should have mastered the consonants s-z, r, voiceless th, ch, wh and the          soft g, as in George

• Should handle opposite analogies easily: girl/boy, man/woman, flies/swims,      blunt/sharp, short/long, sweet/sour, etc.

• Understands such terms as: alike, different, beginning, end, etc.

• Should be able to tell time to the quarter hour

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