Verbal language

Amount and number of words children learn at each age


The first words usually occur around the first birthday, around 12 to 15 months. This moment is usually long awaited and remembered by their parents, marking the beginning of a process that will increase day by day. From that moment on, How many and what words do children learn according to their age? As it is something that we know that parents are very concerned about, we have prepared this short guide for you.

The first words are a continuation of the babbling and it is the parents themselves who attribute meaning to these productions by turning them into words. Given that at the beginning it is usually difficult to identify them due to the immaturity of phonological development, there are three criteria that will allow us to identify these initial productions as words (the combination of 2 or more of these criteria):

- The pragmatic value. What the child seems to expect by saying it. Ex: / tata / pointing to the cookies on the table.

- The context. A word can be identified as it refers to something that is in a certain context (here and now). Ex: / aba / when you go to bathe.

- The phonetic resemblance. You must keep a minimum of phonemes of the word. At the beginning they are usually the vowels and the consonant of the last syllable. Ex: / tete / for pacifier.

Between 12 and 18 months, children produce about 10 words and all of them are related to the satisfaction of primary needs and relevant interests of the environment: names of people (mom / dad), names of foods / food (milk / tit / water / cookie), toys, common household objects, animals or body parts.

By 18 months the word repertoire increases to 20 and children at this age are expected to learn between 9 and 10 words per day. The words they incorporate depend heavily on the lexicon they hear from their parents and the frequency of exposure to them. Repetition is key to memorizing them and integrating them into your language!

And it is that as the report 'Development of language and communication', by Dolores Navas Pérez, of the psychological care service of the University of Malaga says, 'the acquisition of language arises through active use in interaction contexts that parents should favor '.

At 24 months it is expected that children already use about 50 words as a base, since in some children the lexicon is higher. What are the words that children use most frequently in this period?

They refer to food (bread, meat, milk, juice, soup, water, apple, banana, cake or ice cream), parts of the body (hands, head, feet, eyes, hair, nose or mouth), objects of the home (crib, bed, table, chair, TV, light, comb, glass, plate and soap), clothing (shoe, pants, coat, socks or shirt), external objects (sun, rain, dog, cat), toys ( bear, horse, cow or book).

We must also highlight important people for the child (father, mother, baby, baby, names of brothers, grandmother or grandfather), words to describe (hot, more, mine, big, cold, cute ...), words cataloged as social (hello, bye, no, stop, bravo), words to express feelings (sad, happy, happy, kiss, hug), verbs (play, sing, paint, cry, come, throw, run, look, give, take , bathe, search, eat, jump, open or close) and, finally, words to describe place positions (here, down, inside, home or outside).

This increase in vocabulary will allow them to make combinations of 2 words. Eg: "Give me water", "I want a story", "look mom" starting the stage of two-word or telegraphic sentences. These phrases still lack links, articles, prepositions and conjunctions.

Between 30-36 months there is a spectacular increase in the lexicon, calling this stage 'the discovery of the name'. The child discovers that naming is assigning language terms to objects. They expand the vocabulary of the previous categories, reaching a lexicon of around 500 words, reaching 1000 words at 3 years.

At this stage they incorporate verbs combining them with possessives and articles, for example, 'I see', 'I want', 'I like', 'my dog' or 'that's mine'. New verbs are included that are incorporated, more prepositions and adverbs of place are added, such as in, under, with, a, al, above, ahead or behind.

Also around three years of age they begin to recognize descriptive terms (clean, dirty, fast, slow, cold or colors) and they begin to use articles, prepositions and links that allow them to begin to make simple sentences.

In this period the growth of the lexicon continues, perfecting the previous learning. It is difficult to count the number of words they use since there are so many, more than 2000!It incorporates different types of subordination, for example, 'I'm not going to go on the slide because I'm scared' or 'This is the bear that my grandmother gave me.

And they complete all the missing links and the use of suffixes '-ando' or '-endo' for verbs and begin to use plurals. From here, prepare to have a whole speaker at home.

You can read more articles similar to Amount and number of words children learn at each age, in the category of On-site Verbal Language.

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