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Language Development of an Infant

Language is called the symbolization of thought. It is a learned code that enables us tocommunicate ideas and express wants and needs.
Language acquisition is partly innate and partly learned , as children interact with other people and the environment.
The baby learns to talk during his first two years of life. Before he utters his first word, he learns the rules of language and how adults use it to communicate, by observing carefully the adults talking pattern.
He'll begin talking by using his tongue, lips, palate, and any emerging teeth to make sounds like"ooh"s and "ahh"s in thefirst month or two, babbling shortly thereafter. Soon those sounds will become realwords like “mama” as early as 4 to 5 months. Thereafter, the baby picks up more words from his surroundings. And sometime between 18 months to 2 years, he'll begin to form two- to three-word sentences. With the achievements of each milestone, he'll increasingly be able to use words to describe what he sees, hears, feels, thinks, and wants.
Babies learn at different rates. Some are fast language learners and some are slow, so it is best not to compare one child's language development with another's. The important thing to watch is that language development proceeds steadily, not whether itis fast or slow.

Language development process:

In uterus:
Many scientists believe that the work of understanding languagebegins while a baby is still in the mother’s womb. The unborn baby tunes into the sound of the mother’s voice same like he gets used to the steady beat of the mother’s heart. Days after birth, he's able to discern his/her mother’s voice among others.

Birth to 3 months:
Crying is baby's first form of communication.A piercing scream may mean he's hungry, whilea whimpering cry may signal that he needs a diaper change. As he gets older, he develops a delightful repertoire of gurgles, sighs, and coos.
As for his ability to understand language he's starting to pick up what words sound like and how sentences are structured as he listensto those around him.

4 to 6 months:
At this stage, the baby starts to babble, combining consonants and vowels (the first"mama" or "dada" may slip out now and then).
At this stage, vocalization is a game for the baby, who's experimenting with using his tongue, teeth,palate, and vocal chordsto make all sorts of funny noises.

7 to 12 months:
When he babbles and vocalizes now, the babywill sound as if he's making sense. That's because he's trying out tones and patterns similar to the ones being used in his surroundings. Parents and guardian should foster his babbling by talking to him and reading to him.

13 to 18 months:
Now the child uses one or more words, and he knows what they mean. He'll even practice inflection, raising his tone when asking a question. He is realizing the importanceof language as he taps into the power of communicating his needs.

19 to 24 months:
At this stage, the child will probably says about50 to 70 words and may understand as many as 200 words, many of which are nouns. Between 18 and 20 months, he'll learn words at the rate of 10or more a day and he'll even string two words together, making a basic sentence.
By the time the baby is of 2 years, he will use three-word sentences and sing simple tunes. His sense of self will mature, and he'll start talking about what he likes and doesn't like, what he thinks and feels. Pronouns may confuse him at this stage.

25 to 36 months:
By 3 years, the toddler may struggle for a while to find the appropriate volume to use when talking, but he'll learn soon enough. He's also starting to get the hang of pronouns, such as "I,""me," and "you." His vocabulary will grow up to 300 words. He'll string nouns and verbs together to form complete, simple sentences, such as "I go now."
By the time he turns 3, the baby will turn out to be a pretty sophisticated talker. He'll be able to carry on a sustained conversation and adjusthis tone, speech patterns, and vocabulary to his conversation partner.

PARENT’S/ GUARDIAN’S ROLE:
Parents or guardians can help develop the child's language skills along by providing a rich and nurturing communication environment. They can:
• Talk- Talking to child increases the baby’s IQ level and his vocabulary.The child will learn to speak well by listening their elders speak well.
• Read- Reading to the child is a great way to expose him to new vocabulary, the way sentences are put together, and how stories flow. As a baby he'll enjoy in the sound of the parent’s voice, as a toddler he will enjoy the stories and pictures, and by the time he's a preschooler he may even be eager to tell you what's going on in a book.
• Listen- When the child talks to his/her elders, the elders should be a good listener. They should look at him and be responsive. He's more likely to speak up when he knows you're interested in what he's saying.

PROBLEMS IN LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT:
The mother is the best person to monitor her child's speech development. In case ofany concern about the child’s language development, it's a better to discuss the possibility of a languagedelay or hearing problem with the child'sdoctor.
Some signs to look out for language development defect are:
6 to 12 months:
The baby isn't making (or even attempting to make) any sounds or eye contact with you, or stops babbling at around 6 months.
13 to 18 months:
The baby isn't saying any words by 15 months, didn't babble before his first birthday, is unable to point to any body parts,or whatever he says by18 months is not understandable.
19 to 24 months:
The child rarely attempts to speak or imitate others, drops consonants from words, doesn't seem toget frustrated when you can't understand what he wants, or only uses single words without any combinations.
25 to 36 months:
The child continues to drop consonants, has difficulty naming most everyday objects or hasn't started to use two- or three-word phrases.
Note: Shuttering of a child may not necessarily signal a problem. Stuttering is a normal phase, especiallywhen his ability to communicate is expanding so rapidly. But if his shuttering continues for more than six months, or if it's bad enough that he tenses his jaw or grimaces in an effort toget the words out, consult the doctor.


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