Early relations between lexical and grammatical development in very immature Italian preterms 1
This study aimed to investigate early lexical and grammatical development and their relations in a sample of very immature healthy preterms, in order to assess whether their linguistic development was typical, at risk or atypical. The effects of biological factors and parental level of education on preterms' linguistic development were also investigated. Seventy-three Italian preterms and 22 Italian fullterms (control sample) were assessed at 2;6 with an Italian test of repetition of sentences (TRF). Their mothers completed the Italian version of the MacArthur questionnaire (PVB). Our results showed that most of the preterm sample displayed a typical development, compared with the fullterms, with lexicon and grammar within the normal range and a normal relation between these competencies. However, preterms characterized by an extremely low birthweight (ELBW), a very low gestational age and male gender were at risk, with slight delays in the lexicon and grammar, but still retaining the normal relation between the two.(Received April 20 2004)
(Revised December 10 2004)
(Revised April 26 2005)
c1 Department of Psychology, Bologna University, Viale Berti Pichat, 5, 40127 Bologna, Italy. tel: +39 051 2091879; fax: +39 051 243086; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 This research was supported by research grants from the University of Bologna (Basic Oriented Research ex 60% 1999; University Research Project 1998–2000). We would like to thank Mara Armaroli and Francesca Ruffilli for their help with the data collection; Maria Grazia Capretti, Silvia Galletti, Vittoria Paoletti and Anna Maria Perrone for their help with the medical examination; the children and parents for their participation in the research. We would also like to thank Maria Cristina Caselli and Antonella Devescovi for their precious suggestions concerning the questionnaire and the test used in the research and Roberto Bolzani for statistical advice. Thanks also to the reviewers for their perceptive comments. Finally, we are grateful to Annette Karmiloff-Smith for her careful comments and helpful suggestions.