9 – 12 Months

6 - 9 Months

This is a guide to how children develop speech and language between 9 and 12 months.

Phonology Development

  • Vocalizes during play
  • Vocalizes to mirror
  • Jabbers loudly – wide variety of sounds and intonations
  • Uses most sounds (C&V) in vocal play – beginning of phonetic drift
  • May acquire first true word – 0-18 months
  • Variegated babbling begins – combines different syllables in vocal play

Semantics Development Chart

  • Begins to relate symbol and object – first true word
  • Will give block, toy or object on request
  • Understands and follows simple commands regarding body action
  • Responds with searching movements to simple questions
  • Looks in correct place for toys out of sight
  • Turns heads immediately to own name
  • Understands the meaning of “hot”
  • In presence of more than one object, shows awareness of more than one
  • Indicates displeasure when object is removed
  • Can name or look for subject out of sight – first true word
  • Gestures and/or vocalizes to indicate wants and needs (emerging state, recurrence, nomination)
  • Recognizes inverted object – emerging awareness of top/bottom, front/back

Play Development Chart

  • Squeezes doll to make it squeak
  • Regards and pokes clapper of bell (beginning cause/effect)
  • Deliberately drops toys and watches them fall
  • Plays ball with another person
  • Still brings objects to mouth – uses tongue more
  • Puts objects in and takes them out of large container (beginning awareness of in/out)
  • Places one block after another on table (prerequisite to counting)
  • Responds to music
  • Holds crayon – imitates scribble
  • Takes a few steps with help
  • Can bring one object momentarily above another (emerging awareness of spatial concept – precedes block stacking)
  • Stack rings on pegs
  • Throw objects intentionally

Syntax – Morphology Development Chart

Note : Due to the highly variable nature of syntactic and morphological development and due to the lack of sufficient research in the area, the age levels listed are approximations of when certain forms and constructions may appear


Pragmatics Development Chart

  • Shouts or coughs to attract attention
  • Shakes head “no” and pushes undesired objects away
  • Waves “bye”
  • Affectionate to familiar people
  • Begins directing others behavior physically (pat, pulls, tugs on adult)
  • Extends arms to be picked up
  • Moves away from a stranger
  • Participates in “pat-a-cake”, “peek-a-boo”, “so-big”
  • Begins to vary behavior according to emotional reactions of others – repeats actions that are laughed at
  • Reaches to request an object
  • Imitates novel sounds/actions