Posted in Teaching

Stages of Development: Language

As last week was busy, hence no post, I thought I would talk to you about what I was learning. I have quickly found out that while I adore all my classes, my two favourites are Foundations of Teaching and Foundations of English. Both touch on the importance of the understanding how children learn and the development stages in children. So I thought I would touch on the language development stages that was covered this week.

Stages of oral development are:

  1. Pre-linguistic
  2. One word (holographic)
  3. Two word (telegraphic)
  4. Complete sentences
  5. Symbolic language


Pre-linguistic stage

This is the stage that covers the first year of a child’s life. Through that year, at different stages throughout that year, they will be able to start comprehending more and more. Between 2-3 months of age, the child will start responding to sounds. When they hear a sound they will turn their head in the direction. From 4-6 months they start responding to specific words, eg: no. From 7 – 11 months they begin to recognise their own name.


One word (holographic)

This stage lasts the age between their 1st and 2nd birthday. The child begins developing the understanding to point to objects that are named in books. Their vocabulary ranges between 100-300 words. They gain the ability to use one-word sentences. Finally, throughout this year their comprehension of language improves.

Two word (telegraphic)

At this stage, the child expands their one-word sentences to be around 2-3 words. It is at this stage that they love songs and rhyming. It is referred to as the telegraphic stage because it refers to the time in history where people used telegrams. They had to convey long sentences into 2-3 words. The sentences usually have verbs in them. Also by the time they reach 3 years of age is that the child will know up to 1,000 words.


Complete sentences

It is from this stage onwards in which the children begin school and thus need to start using complete sentences. From my experience in the classroom, there are students at various stages of language and development. Some are able to express themselves better while others need assistance. Students become frustrated when teachers do not understand what they are trying to say, which I have observed. Also, they start using tenses although past, present and future tense may be mixed up. Finally, students begin to understand that others have feelings,


Symbolic language

The final stage in which we learnt about last week. This stage continues throughout the students’ life into adulthood. It is in the early stages of this stage that students learn that language needs to be used differently in different contexts. It is also at this stage that they begin to learn and understand grammar. This includes parts of a sentence and the parts of a sentence.


My name is Tansy, I am a library technician at a primary school who is training to be a teacher.

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