A child’s first words are conceivably one of the most salient developmental milestones for caregivers. First words recalibrate parent–child interactions, with the onset initiating reciprocal communication. Because pediatricians provide caregivers with information on milestones, most have at least a basic understanding of communication expectations and most will be concerned if milestones are not met. In the field of communication sciences and disorders, a childhood language delay is defined by failure to meet communication milestones on time.

This entry provides an introduction to the topic of delayed language development. Background terminology required to understand the topic is introduced, and language delay is distinguished from impairment. A brief overview of major developmental milestones, for English, in the lexicon and in syntax and morphology is provided to help the ...

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