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Babies' Language Development from 9-12 Months

August 11, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Language skills in nine to 12 month old babies tend to flourish rapidly.

One minute your baby is making sounds, the next he or she is babbling and sometimes, using simple words like "no," "baby," "bye-bye," "Mommy," or "Daddy."

Here's what else you can expect at this age.


Language Milestones

Typical language development milestones between nine and 12 months include:

  • Babbling in long, repetitive strings.
  • Understanding simple sentences, questions, and requests, such as "Please give the book to Daddy."
  • Taking turns making sounds with you.
  • Copying speech sounds.
  • Responding to her name.
  • Pointing and talking to specific objects. 

Play and Activity

This is an important time during a baby's language development process. Be sure to encourage and support your baby's flourishing language skills by:

  • Talking to your baby whenever you can.
  • Responding to your baby's babbling sounds with the words he is trying to say.
  • Continuing to introduce new words to your baby.
  • Talking to your baby while doing regular activities and explaining what you are doing.
  • Describing your baby's actions. For example, "You are clapping your hands."
  • Reading to your baby every day.

Other Language Milestones

Your nine to 12 month old may also:

  • Copy sounds, such as "bow-wow" or "woof."
  • Use a few words: "no," "baby," "bye-bye," 'Mommy" or "Daddy."
  • Use simple words with matching gestures. For example, say "no" and shake his head or say "bye-bye" and wave.
  • Use a single word to express a whole thought, such as "more" for "I want more."
  • Talk less while learning how to walk. 

Nurture Early Language Skills

Reading, talking, chanting, singing, and having conversations with your baby are the best ways to build early language skills.


Resources & Links: 
Leap BC’s guide Move with Me from Birth to Three
HealthLink BC: Language Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months 

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  1. Activity & Lifestyles
  2. Aging Well
  3. Pregnancy & Parenting
    1. Pregnancy & Birth
    2. Babies (0-12 months)
    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
    4. Preschool (3-5 years)
    5. Children (6-11 years)
    6. Teens (12-18 years)
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