Assuming your child is normal and healthy, are your expectations too high?
By 18 months, most kids have 10 to 20 words. These words may not sound like the word you use... "na" for banana or "dee" for balloon. If the sound is used the same way, each time, and you know what the child means - then it's a word. And note the "most" in "most kids have"... some kids don't have 10 words, some have over 100. Both are still normal.
By 24 months, kids are stringing words together... "mo ooee" for "more cookie". At best, you will understand only half of what your child says and strangers will understand far less.
By 30 months, kids are speaking in sentences... "mommy, look at the big doggy" and "I NEED a cookie NOW".
By 36 months, you can actually have conversations with them. The topics will be limited - they can't discuss politics or physics - but the taking turns, listening, and sticking to a topic of converstation is there.
at 3:27 PM on Dec. 9, 2008