This is a study of the lexical and grammatical abilities of 16 lexically precocious talkers. These children, aged 2;0 were compared to their age-matched peers, 22 typical talkers aged 2;0, and their expressive vocabulary-matched peers, 22 typical talkers aged 2;6. Individual differences in children's lexical knowledge at 2;0 were stable - evident in parent report, laboratory observation, and an experimental fast-mapping paradigm. In accordance with the continuity hypothesis, the lexically precocious children were also grammatically precocious, having a greater representation of grammatical types and tokens and more advanced combinatorial language than their typical age-matches. Their grammatical development was very similar to that of their older vocabulary-matched peers. Limits on continuity were highly constrained with no true dissociation between the lexicon and the grammar in 33 cases examined. We conclude that, among two-year-olds, grammatical development is more tightly associated with the size of the lexicon than with chronological age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- General Psychology