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Takeaways

  • During the second year, babies start to use language to label objects, ask questions, describe ideas, and comment about their world.
  • At around 15 months, you baby can have a vocabulary of up to 50 words.
  • Near your child’s second birthday, they should start to be able to string two words together.
  • If your child’s speech isn’t clear by 24 months old, alert your pediatrician.
 

During the second year, children become increasingly able to use speech and language for a variety of purposes. Not only will they be able to tell you their wants and needs, but as their vocabularies increase, they will also learn to use language to label objects, ask questions, describe ideas, and comment about their world.

Children will also make the exciting transition from using single words to combining words to make phrases and sentences. Although milestones continue to serve as a good general guide for typical speech and language development, try not to get too caught up in comparing your child to others.  Language development can vary greatly from child to child during the second year especially.

12–15 Months

Expressing:

  • Gestures and verbalizes (words and babbling) to communicate
  • Learns new words each month

Understanding:

  • Follows simple directions and understands basic questions
  • Will listen to simple stories, rhymes, and songs 

1518 Months

Expressing:

  • Communicates with greater intent (requesting, labeling, commenting, greeting others)
  • Begins asking simple questions (e.g. “Where Daddy?”)
  • Repeats words frequently
  • Has an average range of 10 – 50 words

Understanding:

  • Points to some body parts when named
  • Demonstrates an increase in pretend play (e.g. pretends to feed doll)

1824 Months

Expressing:

  • Begins to put two words together (e.g. “More milk.”)
  • Can use p, b, m, t, d, n, w, h
  • Many other speech sounds may be mispronounced

Understanding:

  • Answers simple questions
  • Points to pictures of common objects when named

So when should you be concerned about your toddler’s speech and language development? If by 24 months of age, you should alert your pediatrician and your child should be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist if your child:

  • Does not combine two words to make meaningful phrases
  • Unable to follow simple directions
  • Unable to point to pictures when named
  • Speech is unclear 50 percent of the time

Although children develop speech and language at their own pace, if your child does not seem to be making progress and demonstrates these red flags, a speech-language evaluation is warranted.  The second year is a good time to address any potential issues early on.

More in milestones:

References

  1. American Speech, Hearing and Language Association. How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?
  2. Centers for Prevention and Disease Control. Milestones, Two Years.
  3. American Association of Pediatrics. Language Development, Two Year Olds.

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Comments

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  1. My son is talking up a storm now at 18 months old! It’s hard to believe that he has developed such a large vocabulary in just a couple of short months. I was a bit worried at 15 months when he didn’t speak a lot at all, but he has definitely picked up the pace since then! He never ceases to amaze me!