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There are altogether six stages in

speech and language development,


namely pre-verbal stage, babbling
stage, holophrastic stage, two-word
utterances, telegraphic speech and
post-telegraphic stage. A baby goes
through all this stages before they
know how to communicate.


Pre-verbal stage is also known as the stage that a baby
does or says anything before meaningful words are used.
The pre-verbal stage occurs during the infant is zero to six
months. At zero to two months, reflexive vocalisations
occur in baby such as crying, coughing, gestures, grunting
and burps. Reflexive vocalisations are involuntary
responses to a physical state of a baby. For instance, baby
cries when they feel hungry or uncomfortable. At two to four
months, baby starts to coo or laugh in comfortable
states. During four to six months, baby tries to test his or
hers vocal apparatus. This stage is called as vocal play.
Vocal play is same as cooing but the cooing is prolonged.
Baby tends to produce loud and soft sounds.

Babbling is the second stage in speech and language development which
occurs from six to ten months Babbling is the extended repetition of syllables
such as ma-ma-ma, pa-pa-pa, ba-ba-ba. At seven to nine months, baby will be
experiencing canonical babbling, in which they try to repeat babbles and
variegate babbles with different consonants and vowels. Baby babbles either
when he or she is alone or when interacting with adults. The babbling is bi-
directional when adults respond to infants babble. Babbling slowly begins to
include sounds from native language. The purpose of babbling is to aid baby
in practising speech-like sounds, intonation patterns and to gain control of his
or hers speech organs. The last stage of babbling is called jargon state in
which babbling overlay with the starting of meaningful speech phase.


Holophrastic stage is one-word utterance stage which
occurs during the age of ten to eighteen months. In this
stage, children begin to express their needs and ideas
in single words, which usually are expressed in a
sentence. At this phase, children comprehend words
twice as fast as they produce. Children expand their
vocabulary through interacting with environment and
experiences. As an illustration, if the childs father is fat,
the child may call out other fat men as papa, guessing
all fat men his or her father. In this instance it shows
that the child starts to understand the meaning of
words although not fully. The significance of this stage
is the ability for a child to grab attention or to get
something they want or desire.
A two-word utterance is the fourth stage in the speech and
language development which takes place ranging from 18 to two
years in a child. The rapid increase of language after or during 18
months is called as the naming explosion. The child at this age
tries to convey the needs and message through a combination of
two- word sentences. These sentences are plain and contain a
subject word and a predicate word. For example, mama, juice
rather than using mama, I want juice. Another example would
be if the child wants to go to park, the child would say mom,
park. Although at this stage the child uses two-words, he or she
is still able to put the words in order which resembles the order
of a complete sentence.

Telegraphic stage follows after the two-word
utterance stage. In telegraphic stage, a child
combines words to produce simple sentences
without using grammatical elements. Essential
words which could convey meaning only is used.
For exemplification, Want more water,
Mommy go work. The objective of telegraphic
speech is to ask questions, express complex
needs and talk about events and things.

Post telegraphic stage is the last stage in language development.
It is also known as speech emergence. The post- telegraphic
stage happens at age of 30 months to four years. This is the stage
at which a child progressively merges words in a correct order. At
this point, complex sentences are being used with basic
grammar mistakes. The three main common errors are under-
extension, over-extension and over-generalization. Under-
extension is using the word narrowly. For a child at this stage,
puppy is referred to the family puppy and car is used to refer
only to the childs family car. Over-extension is using a word way
too generally than it should be. For instance, car is referred to
any vehicles like lorry, truck and bus by the child. Over-
generalization is applying general rules to words that are
exceptions. A child might say I have two foots instead of I have
two feet and I goed to park rather than using I went to park.