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Understanding Language (EY)


Understanding Language

What’s the difference between speech and language?

Sorting Out Sounds part 1 – YouTube

From birth, children are developing an understanding of language (words and sentences) used by people around them. Around the age of 9-12 months, most children will start to understand familiar single words, and may be able to point to ‘Mummy’, ‘Daddy’, ‘cup’, ‘nose’, or ‘ball’, for example. As a child’s understanding of language develops, they can follow longer instructions, such as ‘Give me the big teddy’. By the time children start school, they are usually able to understand a variety of instructions, follow routines, answer why and how questions, and are learning lots of new words. Children’s understanding continues to develop as they get older.

Children with difficulties understanding spoken language may find it difficult to follow instructions and understand new words and ideas.

What should I expect at different ages?

You can use these resources from Speech and Language UK to find out how children typically develop:

What can I do top tips:

Top Tips for talking

Talk to me ‘Together Time’ leaflet

What can I do resources:

More Information & Getting Help:

  • You can talk to us about your child’s speech and language development via our Early Years Telephone Advice Lines. 
  • You can find details of our advice lines, referral information or how to contact us on our Service page
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