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What is Telegraphic Speech & What is its Importance In Child Development?

What is Telegraphic Speech?

Telegraphic speech is a three-word short sentence or phrase made of a noun or verb. It is seen in a developing child when he moves beyond 2 words to longer three words sentences.

The babies listen to whatever you speak form the time they are in the womb.(1) Their initial coupling of words is referred to as telegraphic speech.

The children in their early speech include only the essential words that are important to convey their message across.

What is Telegraphic Speech?

Important features of telegraphic speech are:

  • Words are in a correct order
  • The important words to convey the message are used
  • There is no grammatical construction
  • Suffix like ‘ing’, or pleural are missing

At What Age Telegraphic Speech Begins

Those early speakers would start using a telegraphic speech by 16-18 years. The average age when children start using telegraphic speech is 18-24 months. It is the time when they start putting 2 words together.

As the child reaches 2-2 ½ years, it progresses to 3-words telegraphic speech.

How early a child develops speech varies in different children. Parents should be patient and not compare their children with other toddlers.

Research shows girls develop speech faster than boys(2)

On average it is seen girls of 16 months have 95 words in their vocabulary, while boys have a vocabulary of 25 words.

Importance Of Telegraphic Speech In Child Development

Language development is important to communicate feelings, developing relations, and problem-solving and in later years getting a job. Telegraphic speech helps a child in the following ways:

Telegraphic Speech Helps The Child Communicate His Thoughts And Feeling

  • Not being able to communicate their feeling frustrates the little one, who doesn’t have the required language skills.
  • As the toddler starts with telegraphic phrases they can communicate effectively, even with the one-word expression.
  • This is good for brain development.

Child Learns How To Form Sentences With the Help of Telegraphic Speech

As the child starts with sentence formation, even if its 2 words sentence, he learns which word to put first so that what he says sounds correct.

Later on, he starts filling up his sentence with other words, and with the parent’s support, they can learn when to put which words, so that they form a correct sentence.

It Can Prove To Be A Stepping Stone For Advanced Grammar

  • As the toddler starts framing two-word sentences, he gears himself up for the next step in language development.
  • Gradually you would notice him adding more and more words to his sentences making them sound clearer.

How To Encourage Telegraphic Speech?

It is important to encourage telegraphic speech when your child starts it. You need to be patient with the child as he develops his language skills.

Model Correct Language

Do not speak with the child in telegraphic speech. Use correct language models.

Research shows, using correct language models with the child helps him develop language skills and includes cues about grammar, syntax, and rhythm.(3)

Use Gestures

Children when trying to communicate, use gestures first, then use the combination of words to express them.

Research shows that gestures are cutting the edge of early development in a child.(4) Gestures are used by a child to compliment their speech. You while speaking with the children can make you of your acting skills. It is a way of giving the child both visual and auditory cues.

Organize Fun Activity

Describe to your child as you go ahead with the daily activities. For example, when washing laundry, pick up each item, and ask whom they belong. Prompt them the answer such as daddy’s shirt.

When playing building blocks or with toy animals, speak with them about what you are doing and repeat your words. Speak with the child in full sentences.

Do one new activity every day with your child.

When reading a story to the child, stop, and ask a question. They would give telegraphic answers. Soon you would see your child asking the questions themselves.

As a child speaks, he uses complex cognitive and motor processes and multiple brain areas. It may take years for them to build complete sentences.

Telegraphic speech is the foundation for many fun-filled conversations ahead. Help your child build language skills by involving yourself more in their life.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 30, 2021

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