Stages of Oral Language Development

Stages of Oral Language Development

Stages of Oral Language Development



Stages of Oral Language Development

Stage Description Example of Utterances Support Strategies

Stage One: Pre-linguistic or infant stage This stage lasts for 18 months;

The child uses a combination of syllables and sounds that they hear frequently;

They express themselves through crying, cooing and babbling (Pettito, L. A., 2008).

The total number of vocabularies they use is between five and twenty. Mama; dada; mum; dog; baba and dad. They should be taught on how to pronounce common nouns like mama;

Such vocabularies should be frequently used for them to master.

Stage Two: One Word Stage This stage occurs between the age of 18 months to two year;

The child uses two word sentences;

The child is able to answer questions;

The child can point at objects or people;

The child can use a wide range of vocabularies between 150 to 300. Me; mine; hi and bye. The child should be taught more vocabularies to expand their knowledge;

They should be asked a lot of questions to answer and be rewarded appropriately (Pettito, L. A., 2008). This will reinforce them to make a lot of improvements in the use of language.

Stage Three: Early Combinatory Speech The third stage occurs between the age of two and three years;

During this stage, a child can integrate prepositions and pronouns into their vocabulary;

Although they construct understandable sentences, they are often grammatically incorrect. No and yes The best thing to do to a child during this stage is to assist them to make grammatically correct and meaningful sentences. This should incorporate the use of the wide range of vocabularies they have mastered (Tannen, D., 2002).

Stage Four: Later Combinatory Speech This stage takes place at the age of three to four years;

The child is able to speak three to four word sentences (Acredolo, L.P. et al., 2009).

They show a significant improvement in their grammar;

They become more verbal, can participate in a conversation, narrate complete stories and answer questions asked.

Why The child should be encouraged to tell stories and be corrected for grammar mistake made.

They should also be critically listened to. This will encourage them to actively participate in a conversation, ask and answer questions.

Stage Five: Later Combinatory Speech This is the last stage in the child’s development of oral language that occurs between four to five years of age.

They can use nouns and verbs to make complete sentences;

They become more imaginative than before and can explain the events of their day. Complete sentences:

Agent + Action + Object They should be encouraged to construct complex sentences;

They should be listened to and encouraged and answered comprehensively.


Acredolo, L.P. et al. (2009). The signs and sounds of early language development. New

York: Psychology Press.

Pettito, L. A. (2008). Language in the pre-linguistic child. The development of language and

language researchers. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Tannen, D. (2002). Spoken and written language: exploring orality and literacy. Norwood,

N.J.: ABLEX Pub. Corp.