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24 to 36 Months

This period is characterized by a great enrichment of vocabulary.

From the age of 24 to 36 months old, the child:

  • understands some colours, some parts of the body and some spatiotemporal concepts
  • begins to make distinctions such as “gros/grand/petit” and past/present/future
  • learns many words very quickly (about 500 words), but does not necessarily express them
  • can make sentences of 3 or 4 words (“Bye, moi pomener” to say “Au revoir, je vais me promener,” “Pas pati papa” to say “Papa n’est pas parti,” and  “Bigitte pas dodo” to say  “Je ne veux pas aller me coucher”)
  • begins to say “je
  • asks some questions
  • can follow simple instructions (“donne le toutou,” “trouve ton jouet”)
  • pronounces 75% to 100% of the sounds of French without necessarily mastering them all (at around 36 months old)

  At around 30 months old, the child:

  • makes sentences of several words, with an increasing number and variety of words
  • begins to articulate several relational concepts, such as disappearance (“na pu lait”), possession (“toutou à Guégoire”), location in space (“maman cusuine”), and action (“papa tavaille buiau,” “maman pati toto”)
  • should be able to reproduce two words or two numbers from memory, immediately after hearing them
  • should begin to replace his/her name or the pronoun "moi" by “je

To find out more...

  • Guide du développement du langage chez l’enfant en milieu exogame (in French with tips and advice in English for language development in a family where the parents don’t have the same mother tongue) | A practical guide for parents of children from 0 to 7 years old by SOFA (Yukon). Written in simple language, it contains useful information classified by the age of the child, and practical advice in French and English for life in a bilingual family (e.g. what the parents who speak different languages can do to support their child's language development). Interestingly, the author suggests the use of a few American sign language (ASL) gestures for the period from birth to six months, to allow the child to express a few basic concepts (I love you, thirst, hunger, etc.) that both parents can understand.
  • Votre enfant apprend à parler (Jean-Adolphe Rondal), Éditions Mardaga, 1998, 110 p. | A classic book about the stages of language development in children, written for parents and educators. Written by a renowned specialist, the book reminds us that language learning is rooted in the relationship between the child and the child’s parents. The child’s first words, usually spoken at around the age of 12 months, are preceded by thousands of moments of non-verbal communication (gestures, smiles) and verbal communication (little noises, listening, vocalizations) between the child and the child’s family circle. Each chapter is devoted to a particular aspect of the child’s progress from the first year to the age of six, and addresses the issues of developmental delays and possible language difficulties and what parents can do about them. Each chapter concludes with a list of benchmarks summarizing the concepts introduced, as well as detailed advice for parents to support their children.
  • Tableau de l’acquisition des sons du français selon l’âge (table of French sound acquisition according to age – available in French only).
  • Increase in Vocabulary Understood (graph of French vocabulary progression)