This has always confused me. While I'm pretty aware of who's infant, baby, toddler, the word young always bowls me out!

How the age is classified based on the range of the years? For instance,

How many years a very young child will be? Any range? It's even confusing when you remove child from there - That's her! In her very young age. - What's the age now? In her adolescence? Childhood? Early childhood?

An answer with a good reference will be helpful. I hope it's not something an opinion based.

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    I think it's not so much a context or an opinion thing, but a relative thing. What's young relative to one thing can be old relative to something else. – Jim Apr 19 '14 at 3:39
  • It's quite common to read this in stories...for example... He saw a very young child and asked him... where the child is never mentioned with its age. But I think if the child is very young, how can someone talk to it? A child is okay to talk with but then very young child is how many years old? 1 yr, 2 yr? – Maulik V Apr 19 '14 at 4:29

As @chapka says it is opinion based, but even more importantly (I think) it is context based.

A young baby may be only a few weeks old. A young child perhaps under five or six years. A young professor is perhaps below 35, and a young US president below 45. A young country could be less than a decade old in a news article, or two centuries old in a history textbook.

To speak to your specific example, it depends on who she is. If you are talking about a twelve year old girl, saying "when she was young" probably means when she was four or five years old. If you are speaking of a grandmother and say "when she was young" (more common phrasing than "in her young age"), it could be anything from her childhood until she was a young mother (another use for the term!).

I'm curious, does your asking of this question mean that in your native language, or others you know, "young" has a well-defined age range associated with its definition, regardless of such context?

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Sorry; it is purely opinion based. There is no universal, objective standard for what makes someone "young"; it's a relative term and therefore dependent on the perspective of the speaker.

There is a technical distinction among educators between early childhood and middle or later childhood; for this, the cutoff is around 8 or 9. But this is not a hard and fast rule and non-educators may have very different ideas.

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