The Dimensionality of Language Ability in Young Children

Laura M. Justice, Richard Lomax, Ann O'Connell, Jill Pentimonti, Stephen A. Petrill, Shayne B. Piasta, Shelley Gray, Maria Adelaida Restrepo, Kate Cain, Hugh Catts, Mindy Bridges, Diane Nielsen, Tiffany Hogan, Jim Bovaird, J. Ron Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to empirically examine the dimensionality of language ability for young children (4-8 years) from prekindergarten to third grade (n = 915), theorizing that measures of vocabulary and grammar ability will represent a unitary trait across these ages, and to determine whether discourse skills represent an additional source of variance in language ability. Results demonstrated emergent dimensionality of language across development with distinct factors of vocabulary, grammar, and discourse skills by third grade, confirming that discourse skills are an important source of variance in children's language ability and represent an important additional dimension to be accounted for in studying growth in language skills over the course of childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1948-1965
Number of pages18
JournalChild development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Justice, L. M., Lomax, R., O'Connell, A., Pentimonti, J., Petrill, S. A., Piasta, S. B., Gray, S., Restrepo, M. A., Cain, K., Catts, H., Bridges, M., Nielsen, D., Hogan, T., Bovaird, J., & Ron Nelson, J. (2015). The Dimensionality of Language Ability in Young Children. Child development, 86(6), 1948-1965.