Longitudinal Relationships Between Lexical and Grammatical Development in Typical and Late-Talking Children Purpose This study examined the longitudinal relationships between lexical and grammatical development in typically developing (TD) and late-talking children for the purposes of testing the single-mechanism account of language acquisition and comparing the developmental trajectories of lexical and grammatical development in late-talking and TD children. Method Participants included ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2007
Longitudinal Relationships Between Lexical and Grammatical Development in Typical and Late-Talking Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Maura Jones Moyle
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Susan Ellis Weismer
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Julia L. Evans
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Mary J. Lindstrom
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Contact author: Maura Jones Moyle, who is now at the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Marquette University, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881. E-mail: maura.moyle@marquette.edu.
  • Julia L. Evans is now at the School of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University, CA.
    Julia L. Evans is now at the School of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University, CA.×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2007
Longitudinal Relationships Between Lexical and Grammatical Development in Typical and Late-Talking Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2007, Vol. 50, 508-528. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/035)
History: Received September 2, 2005 , Revised March 7, 2006 , Accepted July 23, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2007, Vol. 50, 508-528. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/035)
History: Received September 2, 2005; Revised March 7, 2006; Accepted July 23, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 39

Purpose This study examined the longitudinal relationships between lexical and grammatical development in typically developing (TD) and late-talking children for the purposes of testing the single-mechanism account of language acquisition and comparing the developmental trajectories of lexical and grammatical development in late-talking and TD children.

Method Participants included 30 children identified as late talkers (LTs) at 2;0 (years;months), and 30 TD children matched on age, nonverbal cognition, socioeconomic status, and gender. Data were collected at 5 points between 2;0 and 5;6.

Results Cross-lagged correlational analyses indicated that TD children showed evidence of bidirectional bootstrapping between lexical and grammatical development between 2;0 and 3;6. Compared with the TD group, LTs exhibited less evidence of syntactic bootstrapping. Linear mixed-effects modeling of language sample data suggested that the relationship between lexical and grammatical growth was similar for the 2 groups.

Conclusion Lexical and grammatical development were strongly related in both groups, consistent with the single-mechanism account of language acquisition. The results were mixed in terms of finding longitudinal differences in lexical–grammatical relationships between the TD and late-talking children; however, several analyses suggested that for late-talking children, syntactic growth may be less facilitative of lexical development.

Acknowledgments
Funding for this research was provided by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 5 R01 DC03731, “Linguistic Processing in Specific Language Delay” (S. Ellis Weismer, PI, J. L. Evans & R. S. Chapman, Co-PIs) and support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development P30 core grant awarded to the Waisman Center. We would like to extend thanks to all the children and families who made this research possible. We would also like to thank Chris Hollar for her assistance with data collection and analysis and the graduate students in the Language Processes Laboratory at the Waisman Center who assisted with transcription and reliability.
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