Identifying the Dimensionality of Oral Language Skills of Children With Typical Development in Preschool Through Fifth Grade Purpose Language is a multidimensional construct from prior to the beginning of formal schooling to near the end of elementary school. The primary goals of this study were to identify the dimensionality of language and to determine whether this dimensionality was consistent in children with typical language development from preschool ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 16, 2017
Identifying the Dimensionality of Oral Language Skills of Children With Typical Development in Preschool Through Fifth Grade
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christopher J. Lonigan
    Department of Psychology and The Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Trelani F. Milburn
    The Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Christopher J. Lonigan: email: lonigan@psy.fsu.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Catherine Moran
    Associate Editor: Catherine Moran×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 16, 2017
Identifying the Dimensionality of Oral Language Skills of Children With Typical Development in Preschool Through Fifth Grade
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2017, Vol. 60, 2185-2198. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-15-0402
History: Received November 20, 2015 , Revised June 1, 2016 , Accepted February 10, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2017, Vol. 60, 2185-2198. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-15-0402
History: Received November 20, 2015; Revised June 1, 2016; Accepted February 10, 2017

Purpose Language is a multidimensional construct from prior to the beginning of formal schooling to near the end of elementary school. The primary goals of this study were to identify the dimensionality of language and to determine whether this dimensionality was consistent in children with typical language development from preschool through 5th grade.

Method In a large sample of 1,895 children, confirmatory factor analysis was conducted with 19–20 measures of language intended to represent 6 factors, including domains of vocabulary and syntax/grammar across modalities of expressive and receptive language, listening comprehension, and vocabulary depth.

Results A 2-factor model with separate, highly correlated vocabulary and syntax factors provided the best fit to the data, and this model of language dimensionality was consistent from preschool through 5th grade.

Conclusion This study found that there are fewer dimensions than are often suggested or represented by the myriad subtests in commonly used standardized tests of language. The identified 2-dimensional (vocabulary and syntax) model of language has significant implications for the conceptualization and measurement of the language skills of children in the age range from preschool to 5th grade, including the study of typical and atypical language development, the study of the developmental and educational influences of language, and classification and intervention in clinical practice.

Supplemental Materials https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5154220

Acknowledgments
This research and report were supported by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education (Grant R305F100027) to Christopher J. Lonigan. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and have not been reviewed or approved by the granting agency.
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