What Is Expressive Language?

Expressive language includes a child’s ability to effectively and completely express their wants, needs, thoughts, ideas, and emotions by talking. Expressive language is different from articulation/speech development. Language includes the meaning of words (e.g. “fly” is both an action and an insect), how to make new words (e.g. run, running, ran, runner), how to put words together to form sentences, and the ability to select what words should be used based on the situation.

Higher Level Language

Higher level language skills include the ability to answer questions, form grammatically correct sentences, use a variety of word forms (nouns, pronou [...]

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is often part of social language, or pragmatics. This includes a child's ability to make requests and communicate using his o [...]

Using Words and Sentences

Children begin to babble and use consonant sounds between 6 and 12 months old. First words generally begin to appear between 10 and 12 months, along w [...]



Birth - 3 Months

Makes pleasure sounds; cries differently for different needs; smiles when sees people

3 - 6 Months

Babbles sounds including “m, b, p;” laughs; vocalizes excitement and displeasure; makes gurgling sounds; establishes eye contact

6 - 12 Months

Babbles with strings of sounds; uses speech and/or non-crying sounds to gain and keep attention; uses gestures to communicate (e.g. waving, holding out arms to be picked up); imitates speech sounds; uses one or two words

1 - 2 Years

Has a vocabulary of 50 words by 18 months and 200-300 words by 2 years; begins asking “what’s that;” uses rising intonation to ask questions; says more words every month; pairs gestures with words; uses some one or two word questions (e.g. “Mommy?” or “Where ball?”); uses social words “hi” and “bye;” engages in verbal turn taking; puts two words together; uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words

2 - 3 Years

Has a vocabulary of 1,000 words by 3 years; asks simple “where, what/what doing” questions; has a word for almost everything; uses two and three-word phrases; uses sounds “k, g, f, t, d, n;” speech is understood by familiar listeners most of the time; ask for or directs attention to objects; makes conversational repairs; may stutter on words/sounds

3 - 4 Years

Has a vocabulary of 1,600 words by 4 years; asks “why;” asks questions using “what, where, when, how, whose;” inverts auxiliary verbs and subject when asking questions (e.g. “Where is mommy”); talks about activities at school or home; people outside the family usually understand the child’s speech; answers simple “who, what, where” questions; asks “when” and “how” questions; says rhyming words; uses pronouns, uses regular plurals; uses sentences with 4 or more words; talks easily without repeating syllables or words

4 - 5 Years

Has a vocabulary of 2,200-2,500 words by 5 years; asks questions with accurate grammatical structures including “Do you; Are we going to” and “Can you;” says all speech sounds in words (errors may persist on “l, s, r, v, ch, sh, th”); responds to “what did you say?;” names letters and numbers; uses sentence with more than one action; tells a short story; keeps conversation going; talks in different ways depending on the listener and the environment

5 - 6 Years

Has a vocabulary of 2,600-7,00 words by 6 years; uses word plays; uses threats and promises; asks meaning of words; asks questions to gain information; announces topic shifts; is understood by familiar and unfamiliar people

If you have concerns for your child’s development with Expressive Language Skills, contact us today for a FREE screening!



Tri-County Therapy contact information for children with speech delays in Anderson and Charleston, SC.