Do girls start talking earlier than boys?
The simple answer is yes.
Girls, on average, use gestures earlier, use words earlier, have a greater vocabulary and combine words earlier than boys do. But the world is not simple. Research has shown us that the difference is not very significant. Girls speak on average one month earlier than boys. This means that girls are on the early side of the milestone scale, and boys are on the later side. For example, if we are expecting children to say their first words between 10 and 14 months of age (average age being 12 months for the emergence of first words), then more girls will say their first words before 12 months than boys will, and more boys will say their first words after 12 months than girls will. To make it even more complicated, several factors contribute to the earlier or later development of language, and sex is only one minor factor. For example, lower socioeconomic status has been found to have a greater impact on boys than girls in terms of language and learning. Despite these factors, any differences found in boys and girls at an early age almost disappear when children get older. Children in middle and high school show practically no differences in language.
*The above is for children with no language impairments. Boys DO have higher instances of Developmental Language Delay in general. Still, for typically developing children without language delays or disorders, any differences between boys and girls due to their sex are minor. Boys do catch up and, in some instances, surpass girls (and that’s a whole other conversation).