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Infant Behav Dev. 2019 Sep 24;57:101379. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.101379. [Epub ahead of print]

Do early lexical skills predict language outcome at 3 years? A longitudinal study of French-speaking children.

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FPSE, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:
San Diego State University, USA.
Concordia University, Canada.
FPSE, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Early language development is considered critical for children's adjustment in school, for social adaptation and for later educational achievement. Despite the role of children's receptive skills as a foundation for later productive word use, receptive language skills have received surprisingly little attention. The present research extends recent work on the prediction of preschool language skills by exploring whether a decontextualized measure of lexical comprehension can account for unique variance in preschool language skills above and beyond parent report and how early such a prediction can be made. For this purpose, 65 French-speaking children have been tested at 16, 22, 29 and 36 months. The results of the current study suggest that up to the age of two, although parent reports of lexical comprehension and/or production account for a portion of variance in later receptive, productive or general language outcome, they have less predictive validity than a direct measure of early lexical comprehension. By contrast, after age two, parent reported vocabulary production is the strongest predictor of later language production skills.


Language acquisition; Lexical comprehension; Prediction; Toddlers

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