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The development of vocabulary and grammar: a longitudinal study of European Portuguese-speaking toddlers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2019

Irene CADIME*
Affiliation:
Research Centre on Child Studies, University of Minho, Portugal
Célia S. MOREIRA
Affiliation:
Psychology Research Center (CIPsi), University of Minho, Portugal
Ana Lúcia SANTOS
Affiliation:
Centre of Linguistics of the University of Lisbon (CLUL), Portugal
Carla SILVA
Affiliation:
Research Centre on Child Studies, University of Minho, Portugal
Iolanda RIBEIRO
Affiliation:
Psychology Research Center (CIPsi), University of Minho, Portugal
Fernanda Leopoldina VIANA
Affiliation:
Research Centre on Child Studies, University of Minho, Portugal
*
*Corresponding author: Research Centre on Child Studies, University of Minho, Gualtar Campus, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. E-mail: irenecadime@ie.uminho.pt

Abstract

The goals of this study were to analyze the growth and stability of vocabulary, mean length of the three longest utterances (MLLUw), and sentence complexity in European Portuguese-speaking children aged 1;4–2;6, to explore differences in growth as a function of personal and family-related variables, and to investigate the inter-relationships among the three language dimensions. Fifty-one European Portuguese-speaking toddlers were longitudinally assessed at 1;4, 1;9, 2;1, and 2;6, through parent reports. Exponential growth models best described acquisition patterns during this period, but the vocabulary growth accelerated across the full age-range, whereas the growth of grammar dimensions accelerated mainly after 1;9. High variability was observed in the scores, but the toddlers’ relative positions were mostly stable over time. Gender approached significance as a predictor of vocabulary growth. Maternal educational level did not predict the growth of any of the three language dimensions. Both vocabulary and MLLUw predicted sentence complexity.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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