Language Milestones: 1 to 2 Years

toddler girl

Language milestones are successes that mark various stages of language development. They are both receptive (hearing) and expressive (speech). This means that in addition to being able to make sounds and words, your baby also needs to be able to hear and understand.

Most children speak their first word between 10 to 14 months of age. 

By the time your baby is a year old, he or she is probably saying between one to three words. They will be simple, and not complete words, but you will know what they mean. They may say “ma-ma,” or “da-da,” or try a name for a sibling, pet, or toy. If they aren’t doing this at 12 months, you should not be worried, as long as they are producing lots of sounds, seem like they are trying to speak, and seem to understand you. They should be using gestures, responding to their name, and stopping activity when they hear “no.” They probably enjoy playing peek-a-boo.

While nothing quite matches the thrill of hearing the first word, or seeing the first step, the language development during this year can be a lot of fun. There are lots of games to be played as your baby learns words. You also will increasingly be able to understand your child, and this makes many things easier; they will also understand you better. Children are very proud of what they are learning during this time and enjoy announcing new words.

MORE:  Speech Delay? }

Significant Language Milestones

  • The first word – If your child hasn’t already spoken their first word, they will soon. Most children speak their first word between 10 to 14 months of age. More true words will follow the first one.
  • Gestures – Your child may use a lot of gestures with words to try and get the meaning across to you. As time goes on, there will be more words than gestures.
  • Parts of the body – By around 15 months, your child will be able to point to some parts of the body when you name them.
  • Naming familiar objects – They will begin to be able to name familiar objects between 12 and 15 months.
  • Listening – During this time, they will enjoy being read to and listening to songs and rhymes. They will begin to be able to name familiar objects that you point to in a book.
  • Vocabulary – By 18 months of age, most children have at least ten words. After 18 months, word acquisition increases dramatically. There may be a “word spurt” after a child has a vocabulary of 50 words. Some children then learn new words at a very rapid pace. Your child will be able to use and understand many words by 24 months of age.
  • Name – By 24 months, your child should be referring to themselves by name.
  • Directions – Your child will understand and follow simple directions between 12 and 15 months of age. By the age of two, they should be able to understand more complicated sentences.
  • Two word “sentences” – By 24 months, they will also be putting two words together. This could be their name and a request, or your name and a request, or a question, like “mama car?”

What do you think?

Language Milestones: 1 to 2 Years

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of bkk bkk says:

    ya i did baby sign with my daughter too. she knows more, sorry, and i think she knew a few other that she no longer uses. my main concern is that she is 26 months old and can say a few names of the neighboor kids but still is not saying her name. she has made attemps that sound kind of like her name so not sure weather to worry or not.

  2. Profile photo of KaraBarber KaraBarber says:

    My baby really took off with sign language at that age because she couldn’t pronounce words well yet. She didn’t say much but could sign the essentials. Now she is 20 months and talking up a storm and says so many words i lost count. We used the Baby Signing Time dvd’s (you can get them at the library too usually). She loved them and I really feel they helped her language development drastically!

  3. Profile photo of Janice Janice says:

    Reading to them, and playing games with them. I have sang, songs, played hang man, and colored in coloring books to introduce and practice names of color’s and shapes. They enjoy them!

  4. Profile photo of Mommy2011 Mommy2011 says:

    Now i’m intrigued. I’ve always let my daughter develop at her own pace but now i’m starting to wonder…

  5. Profile photo of Zenobiasmom Zenobiasmom says:

    My daughter is 14 months old, and she does the exact same thing, my 3 year old sister was the same way at this age though, but now she talks talks talks, Every child has their own pace, I wouldn’t be to concerned just yet, as long as she understands you and you know she can hear you. Sometimes they have trouble pronouncing words, but that should get better with age. Like I said, my daughter at 14 months old is exactly like that, she loves to scream at the top of her lungs, I believe it is completely normal.

  6. Profile photo of Nora Ortiz Nora Ortiz says:

    My son is 22 months and he barely speaks as well he says mama dada papa tata titi kuka abu but doesn’t put words together and in my last visit to the doctor they said he was fine and on track. You have to constantly repeat things to them and stimulate them with signs when your speaking to them it helps.

  7. Profile photo of brittney brittney says:

    my ped. told me that most babies dont say much until age 2. theres no need for concern. she may not want to talk yet. as long as she understands what you mean and what things are then it is ok. just tlak to her constantly and get her to go around kids her age!

  8. Profile photo of sayhola sayhola says:

    (P.S. the homepage to the website in that link has some really nice information, so be sure to poke around the site as well!)

  9. Profile photo of sayhola sayhola says:

    If you are still concerned, try looking for early intervention services in your area. Here is a link that can point you in the right direction: You can, at any time, request what should be a FREE evaluation for your child to determine if early intervention or speech therapy is needed. You can get an evaluation even though your doctor isn’t concerned – it certainly can’t hurt. Good luck!

    • Profile photo of Heidi Heidi says:

      yes! Their peds aren’t always concerned, but that doesn’t mean there IS NOT a problem. My sons ped kept brushing off my concerns with certain behaviors and him not talking for the longest time, he finally started talking when we introduced him to sign at 20 months but it turns out that he has HF ASD, all we heard over and over was how “he was normal and boys do that, and he would outgrow this or that”. Very frustrating. Early intervention has been a lifesaver. Our 20m daughter only has 2 words- daaaadeee and hi, we will definitely be calling EI in again, JUST incase. 🙂 Although I know each kid develops at their own pace and differently it does not hurt to have someone who specializes in particular developmental areas take a look, unless you go to a developmental ped they’re not necessarily trained to see certain problems- they’re more in tune with diseases like colds, chicken pox, coxsackies etc than with autism or apraxia of speech, etc 🙂

  10. Well, after reading this article, I am even more concerned even though my child’s pediatrician says not to be until she is 18 mos. old. She doesn’t say that many words at all yet and is already 16 months old. I read to her a lot too and talk with her. She seems to understand a lot but chooses to yell, scream, and do motions more than use her words no matter how many times I remind her to use her words instead of yelling at us. I am trying not to worry, but this is worrisome as I don’t want her getting behind and being delayed in anything. I am home with her all the time so it can’t be because she isn’t getting adequate attention or that we aren’t working on it daily.

    • Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany says:

      My son is 17months and says a few words like mama, Dada, teeth, baba, and his name Aiden. I am worried about his language development aswell, he knows what I’m saying when I talk to him but just won’t talk. He babbles and makes sounds like he will say p p p and I will say play. He just smiles and laughs. Im going to try the DVDs that I read in a previous post but I don’t know what else to do. Also his pediatrician that he’s fine as far as development.

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