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Span J Psychol. 2012 Mar;15(1):112-23.

The relationship between early lexical and grammatical development in Spanish: evidence in children with different linguistic levels.

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  • 1Departamento de Psicología Evolutiva, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), C/Juan del Rosal, 10. 28040 Madrid, Spain.


This study analyzes the relationship between lexical and grammatical development in Spanish children. The (European) Spanish version of the MacArthur-Bates CDI was used and administered to 593 Spanish-speaking children between the ages of 16 and 30-months-old. Regression analysis was applied to evaluate the relationship between age, vocabulary (total vocabulary, nouns, and verbs) and grammatical scores on two subsections of the Grammar Part. Total vocabulary explained a significantly greater proportion of variance in grammatical outcomes than age did. However, noun and verb vocabularies did not explain a greater proportion of variance in their respective morphologies than total vocabulary did. Additionally, the predictive relationship between vocabulary and grammar was found to be weaker for children whose scores were below the 10th percentile, although this could be due to the minor variability in this group and to extreme cases. We discuss the implications of these results in relation to the question of continuity between early vocabulary and grammar development in children.

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