Lallation: when it starts and what it is for

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A child's first words are music to a parent's ears, but before reaching the first meaningful words, the child goes through a phase of language development called lallation.

In this article

  • Meaning of lallation
  • Lallation when to worry
  • Examples of babbling
  • How to stimulate babbling

Meaning of lallation

Lallation is a stage in the child's speech development that occurs between 6 and 9 months and is characterized by the use of syllables repeated several times, like a chain, but without a precise meaning. The first syllables generally are Yes Yes because the D is easier to pronounce using the tongue and palate.

Read also: Children's language, 11 tips to develop (and enrich) the vocabulary

Lallation when to worry

La lallation is a positive sign: noises, gurgles and many sounds that sometimes make no sense show that the baby's language and cognitive functions are slowly developing.

Each child learns to speak at their own pace, but knowing the general stages of language development can help them understand if everything is going well. These milestones help doctors and other health care professionals determine when a child may need additional help.

At 3 months the baby:

  • He smiles when he sees his mom
  • Makes noises
  • He is silent or smiles when spoken to
  • He seems to recognize his mother's voice
  • He cries differently to communicate his needs.

At 6 months the baby:

  • You make sounds and gurgling when he plays with his mom or is left alone
  • He stutters and makes a variety of sounds
  • Use her voice to express pleasure and displeasure
  • He moves his eyes in the direction of the sounds
  • Responds to changes in mom's tone of voice
  • Pay attention to the music

At 12 months the baby:

  • Try to imitate the sounds he hears
  • Say some words, like "papa", "mamma"
  • Understanding simple instructions, such as "Come here"
  • Recognize words for common objects, such as "ball"
  • He turns and looks in the direction of the sounds

By the end of 18 months, the baby should follow simple directions, recognize the names of objects, people and body parts, and pronounce about ten words.

It is good to talk to the pediatrician if the child does not respond to speech stimuli, is not interested in stammering or listening to you and cannot react to the words or phrases you say to him.

Examples of babbling

Many children start with the lallation between 4 and 6 months and continue to develop their consonant-vowel combination repertoire for many months to follow. A series of examples of babbling:

In the first months he easily says da-da, la-la and creates, around 8 months he begins to use double consonants even if he does not always understand their meaning (pap-pa, da-da, la-la, ma-ma) , but soon he will match double consonants to express words that have value for him like pa-lla, mam-ma, papa-pa.

Read also: How to stimulate the language of the newborn

How to stimulate babbling

A research conducted by Cornell University found that children's babbling changes the way parents speak to them, suggesting that children are able to shape their own learning environment. In other words, adults subconsciously modify their language to include shorter sentences and more one-word responses when responding to a child's babble and this confirms that parental intervention and stimulation is essential.

To help strengthen both receptive language (i.e. help him understand what he feels) that expressive language (say the words), the main thing to do is talk to the child from an early age. Several studies show that children acquire communication skills more quickly when their parents react to their stammering with supportive language cues.

And then if the child says pa-la we respond enthusiastically "Yes, the ball" and show it to him.

It is also important to read aloud to the child, even if he is very young. The illustrated books are perfect, full of colors and the faces of children like him who make faces and different expressions. We indicate each object on the page and say his name.

Here are some practical tips:

  • Take her toys and describe them using correct language and words
  • Whenever your baby stutters, make eye contact and respond with affection
  • Point to objects and describe them in one word
  • If your baby repeats a sound you just made, repeat it again
  • Talk to him and ask him questions, from a very young age


  • Sciencedaily
  • The Role of Audition in Infant Babbling

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  • lallation
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