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How Well Should a 2-Year-Old Talk?

author image Matthew Giobbi, Ph.D.
Matthew Giobbi describes himself as an interdisciplinary scholar. His interest in neuroscience, psychoanalysis, critical theory, semiology, and media has taken him off the well-trodden paths of psychology, media studies, and continental philosophy, and into the thicket and brush that typically separates these paths. An avid reader of Heidegger, Fromm, Freud, Lacan, and Arnhiem, Matthew enjoys the swirling waters of convergence, finding unique analogical discourse between fields that can be, at times, hostile towards one another. Matthew's graduate education is in media studies, psychology, and music. He earned his doctorate in media studies from the EGS in Switzerland, his masters in psychology at The New School for Social Research, in New York City, and professional studies in music at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium. He also held undergraduate studies in music and psychology at The New School and East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. Matthew is an award winning educator in college and university departments of psychology and media studies. His teaching ranges from mass media, social science literature, psychopathology, media psychology, personality and social psychology, and critical theory/critical media theory . He has also served on two doctoral dissertation committees since 2009.
How Well Should a 2-Year-Old Talk?
A father and daughter talking about a plant in the garden. Photo Credit: 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.

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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

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