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Language development from 18 months to 2 years

Greater understanding

By now, children will be trying out new activities and actively exploring their own environment. They may not always like being directed by adults.

Your child will probably be able to recognise and identify most common objects and pictures of common objects when they are named. They will be able to understand some complicated sentences and appear to understand the meaning of longer sentences. Sounds and words will also be copied more accurately; though don’t worry if your child’s words are not clear at this point.

Continue to talk about everyday activities with your child, as this will help them connect language to the world around them. Remember that children learn speech sounds gradually, so saying the whole word back to them is the best way to encourage language, rather than correcting them.

Often children can be frustrated when adults don’t understand them. Try to be patient or wait for them to finish what they are saying or trying to show you.


At around two years of age your child will probably have built up a core vocabulary of about one to two hundred words, and learned to join two words together. It is important to remember that children at this stage often do not pronounce words clearly, and that this is perfectly normal. If this persists, then you should mention it to your GP or speech and language therapist.


Let your child finish what they are trying to say to you. Be patient.


Remember that children learn speech sounds gradually. Try saying the whole word back to them.


To help children to understand, use objects and gestures to help their understanding.