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Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Understanding Language – Parents

Young children must learn to understand spoken language in order to develop their use of language. Often young children’s understanding of language is better than their spoken language. A good understanding of spoken language is crucial for a child’s communication development.

As children’s communication skills increase, their vocabulary comprehension develops rapidly and they can understand a wide range of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. They can also follow longer and more grammatically complex instructions, e.g. ‘Before you finish off your newspaper article about the science exhibition, you need to make sure your name is on the list for the school trip’.

Around the age of 7, children develop their inferential skills (their ability to ‘read between the lines’ and infer information that is implied but not explicitly stated). They use these inferential skills to make predictions, work out how people are feeling, and answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions.


Last updated: 17 April, 2018

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