First of all,it might interest you to know that contrary to popular believe,your child DID NOT acquire language because you taught him or because he simply imitated you.NOPE! In as much as there are many theories that seek to explain how children acquire language,the most plausible is the nativists theory which states that children acquire language because they are biologically conditioned to do so. Some other scholars have attributed children's ability to learn language to a device in their brain LAD-Language Acquisition Device which enables them acquire language.
Now lets begin to count the milestones.This should be fun.
0-2 months:This is called the reflexive stage.The sounds your child produce in this stage are mainly biological sounds such as yawning,sucking,hiccups.During this period,your little darling is practicing the use of his vocal organs perhaps to ensure that it works.
2-4 months:This stage is referred to as the cooing proper.Your baby begins to produce vowel like sounds.
4-12 months:This is the babbling stage which is divided into early babbling and late babbling.In early babbling,your child babbles all the sounds in the universe.He babbles a combination of consonant and vowel sounds.Even deaf children babble at this stage.When your baby gets to eight months,his babbles begin to contain the sounds of the language he is about to acquire.At nine months,deaf children stop babbling because they do not hear themselves or anyone else.
1-1 1\2 years:When your child gets to this age,he now knows that sounds can be used to express meaning,so he begins to use a particular set of sound to express a particular meaning.He might develop a special name for his toy or sibling or even you.When my brother was this age,he called my mum 'maama'.Still in this age,he begins to use one word to express a complex message.My brother would say 'wowa' if he wanted to tell you he is thirsty.Little wonder this stage is called one word stage.
1year6months-1year8months: When your child is this age,he begins to express those meanings that he expressed in one word in two words.this stage is the two word stage.This stage is also called telegraphic speech because the way your child speaks is similar to the way telegraphs are written;short straight to the point sentences.He might see you setting the table for dinner and point to the table at say 'daddy food'(of course he wouldn't pronounce it properly.We will get to this subsequently). He will omit articles such as a.an,the. He will also omit prepositions,plural markers and past tense markers.They mainly use noun verbs and adjectives. It is interesting to note that in as much as your child's vocabulary is limited,he is able to express himself sufficiently and his understanding of language is greater than his production.
2-2 1\2years: Your child learns how to ask question using question tags. Eg,'where daddy?'.He will also inflect his voice to let you know that a phrase you would have considered a statement is actually a question .Eg, 'see food'.your child will inflect(that is raise the tone of his voice) 'food' so that you will know that he asked a question. Remember when your child was a year plus,he uses one word to express meaning.you might be feeding him breakfast and once he is full,he shakes his head and says 'no'. But once he gets to this age (two plus),he attaches other words to negation.Rather than saying 'no' when he is full,he will say 'no food' or any other phrase of his choice,
2 1\2 years and above:your child's vocabulary and language use increases and improves vastly.he just keeps improving and improving and..improving on his language.
Now you should have fun tracking the language development of your child o any child around you.Subsequent posts are coming up detailing how and when your child learns how to pronounce correctly,when he learns to form correct sentences among others.
Do drop your questions and suggestions on the comment box.You can equally mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org.