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Language in Infants

Page history last edited by Charlotte Harris 13 years, 4 months ago

 Language Development in Infants

     Language development in infants is a complex process which is marked by different stages and components. Speech perception begins the process of language development in the early phases of life. Contrary to popular belief infants are able to perceive sounds in complex ways.  They must first begin by distinguishing between phonemes.  In doing this, they are able to make distinctions between sounds and group various sounds together.  Research has shown that infants are able to make these distinctions and even recognize similarities in language.  In some cases, infants are able to make distinctions between certain sounds that adults are unable to make.  This is due to their ability to recognize the differences in sounds of different languages.  This ability is lost as an infant matures and becomes more accustomed to his own language. 

     Another important component of language development is language comprehension.  Studies have shown us that infants can comprehend language in impressive ways.  From a young age, they are able to recognize the distinct sound patterns in their own names and even a few select words.  In their comprehension of words, they focus their attention on words with meaning, rather than words used for grammatical reasons.  An infants understanding of sound and sight is another amazing comprehension skill.  At an early age, infants begin to accept a correlation between what they see and what they hear.  They also begin to develop categorization and recognition for concepts and objects.  Infants competence in language comprehension aids them in their development of language production. 

     Infants begin language production with vocalization that occurs in a series of stages. Although not every child is the same, children with normal cognitive abilities begin to vocalize in similar ways.  The first stage of child vocalization tends to be cooing, which begins around two months.  After they have practiced using vowels, such as "oo", they progress into a vocalization commonly referred to as babbling.  Babbling involves both consonants and vowels and is often marked by a repetition of sounds.  Most infants begin to babble around six months progressing into their first comprehensive sounds around ten months.  Between these two stages the infants begin to attempt calculated communication. Infants usually speak their first word around the time they are one year of age.  This is an important step in any child's life and is something every parent awaits anxiously.  

     Parents play a large role in an infants language development.  Parents can use different techniques to aid their child in language comprehension.  These techniques are usually derived from child-directed speech.  By helping an infant advance its language capabilities, a parent is beginning a complex process which will soon show a rapid transformation in a child's language abilities.  Research has shown that an infants language development  comes through in his speech perception, language comprehension, and language production.  An infants early language development demonstrates the fascinating and complex nature of all humans and their cognitive abilities.




Why Don't Babies Talk like Adults?  An article describing the hypotheses of language development.


The ages and stages of normal language development from six months to eight years.


People are beginning to use sign language as a way to communicate with their infants before vocal language develops. 


A video of Speech and Language Pathologist, Maia Magder, describing the development of language in infants.


An in depth look at normal speech development and what to do if your child is not developing speech at a normal rate.


Studies show that speech perception at infancy correlates with language abilities later in life.


The biological foundations of language.


A resource describing language development in infancy.


Speech development in the infant and ways parents can help encourage the process.


Language development while in the womb.


An entertaining portrayal of what it would look like if babies already had the language capabilities that adults have. 




This page was developed by Charlotte Harris



Disclaimer: All information, images, and links on this website are thought to be public information.  If any of these need to be taken down for any copyright violations please email me at charlottevball@yahoo.com. 


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