This study compares early grammatical and lexical acquisition in 323 preterm and 166 full-term children at 24 months. The French MacArthur-Bates parental report was employed for analysis. Gestational age and birth order showed a significant effect on vocabulary size and grammatical distribution. Preterm children showed fewer words and produced more games, routines and animal noises words. Except for the group of extremely premature children, first-born children in each gestational age group produced more words than second-born. In contrast, first-born children exhibited more predicates than second-born children. It is concluded that preterm children show delayed rather than deviant language development.
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