Definition of Telegraphic Speech:

Telegraphic Speech refers to the simplified form of language used by toddlers and young children when they first learn to speak. It is characterized by short and concise phrases that usually lack grammatical markers such as articles, prepositions, and auxiliary verbs.



Telegraphic speech is a common stage in language development seen in children between the ages of 18 to 30 months. During this stage, children begin to string together words to form simple and meaningful sentences.


Telegraphic speech is identified by its specific characteristics:

  • Minimal Words: Only essential words are used to convey the intended message.
  • Absence of Grammatical Markers: Telegraphic speech often lacks articles, prepositions, and auxiliary verbs.
  • Focus on Concrete Nouns and Verbs: Children tend to use words that represent objects, actions, or events they can directly observe or interact with.
  • Subject-Verb-Object Structure: Sentence structure typically follows a basic syntactic pattern of subject, verb, and object.


Here are a few examples of telegraphic speech:

  • “Baby sleep.”
  • “Doggy run fast.”
  • “Mommy eat cookie.”

Importance in Language Development

Telegraphic speech is an important milestone in a child’s language development. It represents their ability to grasp language rules, vocabulary, and sentence structure to communicate effectively. It also signifies the transition from single-word utterances to more complex language acquisition.


Telegraphic speech is a stage in language development where young children use simplified, concise phrases to express their thoughts. It marks an important step towards language fluency and paves the way for further linguistic and cognitive growth.