Language Development Chart

What Are Receptive & Expressive Language?

Receptive Language - Language Development Chart

Receptive Language
Receptive language refers to the process of comprehending language in your environment. Examples of receptive language are understanding words spoken by others or reading and understanding written text.

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Expressive Language - Language Development Chart

Expressive Language
Expressive language refers to the process of producing spoken or written communication, as well as gestures. Examples of expressive language are speaking, writing a message, or making a hand signal.

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Age of Child

3 Months

Receptive Language

  • Responds to being held, fed, or changed
  • Recognizes familiar voices

Expressive Language

  • Makes sounds that let others know when he or she is experiencing pleasure or pain
  • Cooing: early vowel sounds a baby makes
  • Differentiating cries: the baby uses different cries for specific situations. For example, one cry says, “I’m hungry,” and other says, “I have a pain.”
  • Smiles to communicate
6 Months

Receptive Language

  • Responds to human voices without visual cues by turning head and eyes
  • Reacts to environmental sounds
  • Reacts to sounds other than voices
  • Enjoys music and rhythm
  • Responds to name
  • Responds appropriately to friendly and angry tones
  • Understands “no”
  • Anticipates events
  • Begins to understand basic phrases
  • Understands object permanence

Expressive Language

  • Laughs or giggles when stimulated by silly faces or tickling
  • Razzing/raspberries: a great oral exercise that is used playfully by babies at this time
  • Babbling: when baby combines consonants and vowels (e.g., “da da da” or “ma ma ma”). This speech-like babbling includes many sounds including the bilabial sounds, such as /p/, /m/, and /b/ that are made using both lips
  • Uses sounds or gestures to indicate he or she needs something done. At this age, babies can make very “urgent” noises to prompt you into action
  • Vocalization with intonation
9 Months

Receptive Language

  • Listens when spoken to
  • Turns and looks at your face when his or her name is called

Expressive Language

  • Protests when a toy is taken away
12 Months

Receptive Language

  • Responds to request to “come here”
  • Responds to “no” most of the time
  • Recognizes the names of common items (e.g., daddy, eyes, phone, key)
  • Recognizes familiar people and action verbs
  • Responds to simple requests (e.g., “Give to mommy” or “More juice?”)
  • Follows one-step commands with gestures
  • Is aware of the social value of speech

Expressive Language

  • Baby relates “mama” and “dada” with the caregivers
  • The sound of your baby’s babbling changes. This is because it now includes more consonants, as well as long and short vowels
  • He or she uses speech or other sounds (besides crying) in order to get and hold your attention
  • Words: Uses 3-6 words, like “hi” or “bye” meaningfully
  • Baby’s first words (probably not spoken very clearly) usually appear during the first year
  • Practices inflection
15 Months

Receptive Language

  • Points to pictures in a book when you name them and can point to a few body parts when asked
  • Understands simple questions (e.g., “Where’s the bunny?”)
  • Follows one-step commands without gestures

Expressive Language

  • Words: Uses 3-6 words meaningfully
  • Imitates others using gestures, speech, and noises
  • Asks two-word questions like “Where ball?” or “What’s that?”
18 Months

Receptive Language

  • Enjoys (repetitively) listening to simple stories, singing songs, and saying rhymes
  • Is able to follow simple commands
  • Begins to understand contrasting concepts or meanings like hot vs. cold, stop vs. go, in vs. on, and nice vs. yucky
  • Use objects appropriately in play

Expressive Language

  • Words: Uses 7-10 confidently
  • Combines two words in other ways (e.g., “Birdie go,” “No doggie,” “More push”)
  • Has vocabulary of at least 10-50 words
  • Intelligibility: Speech is typically intelligible 25% of the time to an unfamiliar listener
  • Combine speech sounds with intonation and gestures
24 Months

Receptive Language

  • Words: Comprehends about 300 words
  • Listens actively to simple stories
  • Responds to yes/no questions and simple “WH” questions: who, what, when, where, why
  • Follows two-step directions (e.g., “Pick up the train and put it in the toybox”)

Expressive Language

  • Words: Uses 100 words meaningfully (but vocabularies might be up to 150-300 words)
  • Labels familiar objects by name
  • Intelligibility: By 24 months, a child’s speech should be intelligible to an unfamiliar listener 50-75% of the time
  • Combines words into short sentences (mainly containing nouns and verbs)
  • Average sentence length: 1.2 words
  • Uses two pronouns correctly but may confuse “I” and “me”
  • Uses two prepositions
  • Adds rising intonations when asking questions
  • Responds to yes/no questions (may respond with a head shake or nod)
  • Makes animal sounds
  • Identifies five pictures by name
  • Identifies self by name
  • Says “no”
  • Talk to self while playing
30 Months

Receptive Language

  • Pays attention to (and may show excitement) sounds such as the phone ringing. Children make attempt to get your attention or answer independently

Expressive Language

  • Words: Uses 200 words meaningfully
  • Intelligibility: Should be intelligible to an unfamiliar listener 70% of the time
  • Combines three or four words to form phrases
  • Identifies actions in pictures
  • Identifies the function of objects
  • Answers simple “WH” questions appropriately
  • Uses plurals and simple prepositions
  • Produces one- to four-word utterances that are typically intelligible to family members
36 Months

Receptive Language

  • Words: Comprehends approximately 500 to 1,000 words
  • Understands the functions of objects
  • Understands turn-taking
  • Labels objects and their parts
  • Understands simple adjectives and pronouns
  • Understands differences between genders
  • Understands spatial concepts
  • Identifies and matches colors
  • Understands quantity concepts
  • Understands simple questions regarding his or her environment and activities
  • Gives his or her gender, name, and age

Expressive Language

  • Words: Approximately 700- to 1,000-word vocabulary
  • Intelligibility: Typically intelligible to unfamiliar listeners 75 to 100% of the time
  • Uses pronouns correctly
  • Answers complex “WH” questions appropriately
  • Uses articles and auxiliaries
  • Produces phrases with four or more words
  • Uses plurals and the past tense

Are you concerned about your child’s progress in speech and language development?

Contact Karen
Contact Karen & Chicago Speech Therapy

Are you concerned about your child’s progress in speech and language development?

Contact Karen
Contact Karen & Chicago Speech Therapy