How Well Should a 2-Year-Old Talk?

Father showing boy (2-5) plant in garden
A father and daughter talking about a plant in the garden. (Image: Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images)

From a child's earliest cooing to fully formed words such as "Momma" and "Dada," the first 12 months of verbal development is accelerated. In the second year, this rapid pace of linguistic and cognitive development continues until a leveling off after middle childhood. The early years are the most critical in the development of speech, communication and cognition. Keep in mind though, no two 2 year old's are alike and your little one will develop at his own pace.

At the Beginning of the Second Year

At the beginning of the second year, most children are speaking a few words such as "Momma," "Dada" or "uh oh." Your little one should be able to put two words together and ask two word questions, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. By age 2, your child should be able to correctly pronounce the sounds "P," "M," "H," "W," "N" and "B." She now is entering a time in which voluntary motor control and concentration is forming. One word that is understood, if not uttered yet, is "no."

In the Middle of the Second Year

By 18 months, your child should be able to identify themselves in a mirror. With this newly discovered sense of self and others, he will begin to recognize people by their names. Your child's vocabulary will likely include nouns, some pronouns, descriptive words and some words, notes the website PBS Parents. He should know about 200 or more words and is able to point out objects when hearing their names.

By the End of the Second Year

By the end of the second year, most children have developed a vocabulary of over 200 words and can follow simple directions from others, according to the website, PBS Parents. Basic phrase structure, such as "want cookie" and "go bye?" begins to appear. Your child now has a definite sense of self, which is reflected in his use of the word "mine" as well as personal pronouns such as "me" and "you."

Speech Abnormalities

Although children in their second year make frequent mispronunciations of newly acquired words, there are a few signs that speech pathologists warn parents to be aware of. Avoiding the pronunciation of vowel sounds by saying "dg" for "dog" or uttering only the vowels of a word with "aw" for "dog" might indicate a speech development problem. Although most children lisp, stutter and fumble with pronunciation or sentence structure, these difficulties often disappear after the seventh year. It is always best to consult your child's pediatrician if you are concerned with his speech or communication development. Early identification of an impairment is critical, so that you can get your child treatment right away before it interferes with his learning, according to HealthyChildren.org.

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