Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Baby Development: Your 11-Month-Old

“Receptive” vs. “Expressive” Language continued...

At the same time, your child began to play with sounds and to learn how to articulate the consonants and vowels and musicality of your native tongue. You noticed, for example, how she strings sounds together in a way that sounds eerily like real speech. But that was not language, until somewhere around 9 months or so, she had her brilliant idea.

After that you wondered if she understood her name or “No!” or bottle, and she likely did. But, as all of you know who have tried to learn a second language late in life, it’s easier to understand (“receptive language”) words than it is to generate the speech (“expressive language) to communicate. Additionally, the oral motor skills involved in talking are incredibly complicated and take a lot of time to master. That’s why a full three months or so go by between the brilliant idea and its manifestation as the much-heralded first word.

Baby’s Learning to Talk

How will your baby best learn to talk at this point? To make a point, let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose you are a mad scientist parent. You want to see how well your baby will learn to talk by keeping the TV on all day (nothing but Sesame Street and Baby Einstein, etc) and sitting him/her in a high chair and making him/her watch for a few hours a day. But no human conversation, just watching TV. How well would your baby learn to talk?

The answer is: not at a whit. Babies can only learn language in the context of a relationship. There must be a back and forth, questions and answers, immediate responses to things that have just happened, following up on the infant’s utterances with those of your own. In short, human interactions. TV’s disembodied flashes of images have none of this and, of course, lack the benefit of the communicator having a close emotional bond.

Coaching Your Baby

I could spend the rest of this piece counseling you how to help your baby learn to talk. There really are some good tricks: talk to him/her a lot, narrate what you are doing, ask questions, respond to whatever your child says, read books together, use lots of inflection and drama and gestures in your speech.

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow