Sound Imitation and Early “Words”

cute baby eat appleAs your baby starts babbling and jargoning, you might notice that it is much easier to imitate sounds, rather than words. Using more diverse sounds during play and communication can set a great stage for future word learning.

Babies love sounds because they are simpler for their little mouths to say the first 12 months of life. Most sounds have a repetitious consonant-vowel structure with elongated vowels, that makes imitation easy.

The sounds that you use during play should be made simultaneously with an action or movement. For example, don’t just push a car... push the car and say “vrooom.” Here are some other sounds to use when interacting with your little one everyday:


  • Happy- “mmmmm” (Lick lips, during mealtimes)
  • Yucky- “yuck, bleh” (Stick out tongue, wrinkle nose)
  • Stinky- “pee-you” (Wrinkle nose)
  • Trouble- “uh-oh” (Wide eyes)


  • Train- “choo-choo” (Push train)
  • Car- “beep-beep” (Drive car)
  • Fire truck- “whoo-woo” (Drive truck)
  • Boat- “puh-puh-puh” (Wave boat)
  • Truck- “honk-honk” (Drive truck)

Household Objects/Toys

  • Clock- “tick-tock” (Rock head back and fourth)
  • Phone- “ring-ring” (Hold phone to ear)
  • Vacuum- “brrrrrrmm” (Pretend to push vacuum)
  • Popcorn- “pop-pop-pop” (Pop fingers up)
  • Bubbles- “pop-pop-pop” (Popping bubbles)

Dolls/Action Figures/Animals

  • Baby- “waaah” (Tap baby)
  • Sneezing- “achooo” (Place hand over face and mouth)
  • Hiding- “peek-a-boo” (Cover face)
  • Cow- “moo”
  • Dog- “ruff ruff”
  • Duck- “quack quack”

These early and simple sounds are the building blocks of verbal communication, words, and talking. As your child uses these sounds consistently to request or comment on activities, they are learning that sounds/words have meaning and intent.

Providing more opportunities for listening and learning, will certainly catapult your little one’s language skills.


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