The development of speech in the child
Language development in children is something very special. The toddler age is accompanied by many developmental steps. However, language development accompanies us throughout our lives. Even in adulthood, we are still learning words and constantly expanding our vocabulary. We communicate with other people through language. Thus, the development of language is a very important process for children. Often children have a harder time in kindergarten if they have a speech impediment. If they receive language support, social problems usually disappear as well.
Language development U3
Language development begins shortly after birth. It is divided into individual areas. These may well overlap and are individual to each child. The data are only approximate guidelines.
- 0-6 months: crying phase
- 2-12 months: babbling phase
- 12-18 months: One-word sentence age
- 18-24 months: Vocabulary Explosion
- 24-30 months: two- to three-word sentences
- from 30 months: Question age, multiword sentences
The conditions for good language development
In order for a child to go through the individual phases of language development, it needs attention and love. Language does not develop on its own. Children learn by example. That’s why it’s incredibly important to start working with babies and toddlers. Just providing basic needs is not enough for the baby to learn to talk. Already in the crying phase you can set the first building blocks for language.
If you react quickly and appropriately to a baby’s crying, he learns to trust the world. It notices that someone is responding when it “speaks.” Because crying is the language of a baby. With the babbling phase, the baby learns the first sounds. You can strengthen the joy of his language attempts by answering him. Reading aloud, singing and telling stories promotes the language development of the baby and toddler.
The milestones of language development
While language development in the u3 age group is initially slow, the second year of life sees the so-called vocabulary explosion. This is the term used to describe the step when the toddler has passed the 50-word mark and is now learning two to three new words a day. The child begins to string words together and form sentences that do not always make sense to us. If you want to count a child’s vocabulary, you may also count the child’s own creations. For example, the words “woof woof” for dog and “nune” for noodle count the same as ball and mom.
Milestones in language development refer to the most important steps in learning to speak. Already in the womb, the body parts that the child needs to speak develop. Hearing develops by the fifth month of pregnancy and is already fully functional at birth. Therefore, after birth, babies recognize the voice of the mother and sometimes even the voice of the father. The first big milestone is crying after birth. The baby expresses itself for the first time. So parents can respond to the baby’s expressions from birth. Even if the baby seems as if it does not yet understand anything for the first few months, parents should still talk to it a lot. During the first year of life, the baby reaches the second milestone. It begins to slur its words and babble its first strings of letters. These chains are practiced extensively during the first year of life. Especially when the baby gets a response.
Between the ninth month of life and the first year of life, you hear the long-awaited first word from the baby. Most of the time it’s “mom,” “dad,” or “there.” Rarely, it is also another word. Interestingly, learning to walk – and learning to talk – are in competition with each other. Babies who said their first words very early walk much later than toddlers who start talking late. These run earlier for this. Once the first words have bubbled out of the little mouth, the child is unlikely to stop talking. After all, everyone is happy when the first words sound, thus stimulating the child to learn even more words. In addition, the toddler quickly realizes that he can achieve new things with language. So now it doesn’t have to scream when it’s hungry, but can express this with “Mjam mjam”. “Up,” “have,” “there,” and “with” are among the first words in the second year of life for a reason.
Towards the end of the second year of life, major milestones in language development again approach the child. It learns new words every day and begins to form multi-word sentences from them. Many children are now also entering the famous question age and thus present their parents with many a challenge. By the third birthday, the child is now practicing speech. It also learns to pronounce difficult consonants and to form more complex sentences.
Language development in multilingual children
Many children do not grow up with only one language. More and more children are learning two or even more languages at the same time. The good thing is that children find it much easier than adults to learn a foreign language.
Thus, language development in multilingual children is usually not a problem at all. They store the different languages in the brain quite automatically and can retrieve them later as needed. However, it is confusing for multilingual children when they are addressed by one person in several languages. So if the mother speaks English and the father speaks German, the father should not suddenly speak English to the child. Especially since he would probably make many mistakes in the foreign language and thus not help the child. Likewise, educators in day care centers should not try to repeat the family’s language of origin. The child learns to speak the new language within a very short time.
Interestingly, children who grow up multilingual often speak a little later than those who grow up with only one language. However, this is usually not because they are developmentally delayed, but because they store languages at rest. They then usually speak quite suddenly and so often cause amazement at how well they can actually already speak. Likewise, it is quite normal for them to mix up some of the languages in between. For multilingual children, just as for monolinguals, it is true that they learn more of the language when they have a role model for it. Someone who talks, reads and sings to them a lot.
Goetz, S. (2020). Language development in U3 children. Language is access to communication. ISSN: 2748-2979. Accessed 08.12.2020. Available at: https://krippenzeit.de/sprachentwicklung-bei-u3-kindern/