What are babies' first words?

Speech Sisters
July 15, 2022

What Are Babies’ First Words?

What are the first 10 words babies say? A few weeks ago, we asked our Instagram followers to tell us what the first words were that their babies said, and guess what? Their answers corresponded almost perfectly to what the research has revealed! According to research, toddlers often use the same first words regardless of linguistic, cultural, developmental, or geographical background. How can this be? The conclusion of the research has been broken down into 3 basic reasons that explain this phenomenon:

  • Babies’ first words typically derive from things that they consistently SEE and HEAR.
  • Most of the words include bilabial sounds (P, B, and M), which are easy first sounds for babies to copy. Bilabial sounds require the use of both lips. The lip closure associated with these sounds is a visual cue, which helps the child to see how these words are formed. See de Boysson-Bardies and Vihman (1991, p. 312–313).
  • All of the words are SIMPLE word shapes and SIMPLE concrete concepts.

So what are babies’ first words? Here are the top 10:

  1. Mama
  2. Hi
  3. Dada/Papa
  4. Yum/Nom
  5. No
  6. Bye
  7. Baba or Baa-Baa
  8. Boo
  9. Yes/Yeah
  10. Ball

Babies’ First Words: A Talking Timeline

You can be sure your baby is listening to you from day one! As babies grow, they begin to associate certain sounds with certain lip movements. Not only are they listening, but they are also watching! Before you know it, they’re repeating what they see and hear. You’ll love observing as your baby’s language develops, as they move from cooing to babbling to saying their first words! But remember, progress is gradual, and babies develop at different rates. Toddlers often experience a “language explosion” at around 19-20 months, when they typically start learning words at a ferocious rate! By 2 years old, your toddler will most likely be stringing words together in sentences. How exciting is that?! Learn more about babies’ month-to-month language development here.

Help for Parents:

If you’d like your child to become an early communicator, we’re here to help! Check out our Talk on Track online course, which includes a list of 45 functional words! These words are:

  • Research based
  • EASY for your little one to say
  • Functional (get wants and needs met)
  • Designed to make your baby’s life easier (and therefore YOUR life easier!)

We’d love to work with you as you help your child become an early communicator! To learn simple and effective strategies to help get your little one talking, sign up for Talk on Track today—you’ve got this!

To learn simple and effective strategies to help get your little one talking, check out our Talk on Track (newborn-14 months) and Time to Talk: Toddler Course (15-36 months). We’d love to equip you to experience the joy of your little one talking to you!

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