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Track your baby's language development by noting these important milestones!

Moms and dads, here's what you can expect as your baby grows and learns to use language to express their thoughts and feelings, one babble at a time!

As your baby turns a year old, they begin to learn and grow even more; this includes forming the foundations of speech from which they will communicate for the rest of their lives. Though adorable, babbling has an even more important purpose in your little one's life. At this stage, they begin to understand common phrases along with directions they usually hear from mommy and daddy.

From 12 months on, parents can expect to see exciting changes in the way their baby expresses herself: grunts and babbles evolve into single words or more.

"At 8 months, they are expected to mutter things like 'dada' and 'mama'," Dr. Joselyn Eusebio of of University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC), tells theAsianparent Philippines. "So, the development of language should follow this sequence: at 1 year old, babies should be able to say at least three words. Once they hit 18 months, it should be 10 words and at 2 years old, they should already be forming short phrases. Finally, at three years of age, they should be able to communicate in a complete simple sentence."

It's also normal for babies aged 12 to 16 months to mix up meanings of certain words, underextending or overextending them. For instance, if you take your baby to a zoo, they refer to a horse as a "dog," in favor of what they normally see at home.

According to Dr. Eusebio, babbling should be encouraged as it nurtures curiosity and boosts development.

But what of the words they understand? Let's first take a closer look at receptive vocabulary.

Receptive vocabulary: Words they know at every stage

At 12 months, your baby ideally understands up to 50 words, according to During this time they can also be able to name objects nearby. At 14 to 15 months, they tend to point at objects farther away, as if seeking mommy or daddy's help to name them. Once they hit 15 months, the number increases to 120 words. Between 12 to 15 months, they learn about one word a day. A month later, at 16 months, they can recognize 170 words.

When they turn 18 months, they are normally able to recognize and respond to 200 or more words.

Parents should also take note of a language "spurt" that typically occurs between 16 and 23 months of age. During this time, 1 to 2 words are acquired per day. They can be nouns (bottle, milk, blanket), pronouns (me, you, mine), prepositions (in, below, above), verbs (kiss, sleep, open), or descriptions (cold, hot, broken).

They comprehend simple phrases and directions

One-year-olds are able to understand phrases commonly used, like "Do you want more?", "Kiss mama" , "Say bye bye!" They can also follow simple instructions, like, "Don't touch!" "Sit down" or "Don't move." They can also understand simple explanations, granted that it refers to typical situations, like forbidding them to put something they picked up off of the floor in their mouths.

What about distinguishing their native language from a foreign one?

At 12 months old, your baby is able to perceive speech sounds in their native tongue. It's important to note that babies are more capable of distinguishing other languages at 6 months of age. Their ability to differentiate from languages also decreases as they age.

They can tell when someone is mad or excited

Simply going by the pitch and intonation of your voice, your baby can already determine if your tone is positive or negative. They can also tell if they're being asked a question, depending on the lilting or intonation at the end of statements.

They adorably struggle with pronunciation until age 2

Mommy, daddy, and nanny will often find themselves having to "translate" what baby is saying. They rarely manage to pronounce words with perfect diction, which is a natural stage of development.

They start to experiment with words and sounds

Once your baby is 18 months, they can already communicate using single words. They may even mix up the sounds and tone to better show what they mean, this includes experimenting with word combinations to string them together and form phrases and sentences. For instance, "Mommy hungry?" is how they would ask, "Is mommy hungry already". Or, "Daddy work" typically means "Is daddy going to work?"

Adorable, right? Moms and dads, savor each word and phrase your little one says and take care of how you communicate with them as they grow. We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

READ: 25 Words your toddler should know by age 2

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