Multivariate genetic analysis was used to examine the genetic and environmental aetiology of the interrelationships of diverse linguistic skills. This study used data from a large sample of 4½-year-old twins who were tested on measures assessing articulation, phonology, grammar, vocabulary, and verbal memory. Phenotypic analysis suggested two latent factors: articulation (2 measures) and general language (the remaining 7), and a genetic model incorporating these factors provided a good fit to the data. Almost all genetic and shared environmental influences on the 9 measures acted through the two latent factors. There was also substantial aetiological overlap between the two latent factors, with a genetic correlation of 0·64 and shared environment correlation of 1·00. We conclude that to a large extent, the same genetic and environmental factors underlie the development of individual differences in a wide range of linguistic skills.
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