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Common aetiology for diverse language skills in 41/2-year-old twins

  • MARIANNA E. HAYIOU-THOMAS (a1), YULIA KOVAS (a2), NICOLE HARLAAR (a2), ROBERT PLOMIN (a2), DOROTHY V. M. BISHOP (a3) and PHILIP S. DALE (a4)...
Abstract

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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Corresponding author
Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD. e-mail: m.hayiou-thomas@psychology.york.ac.uk
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We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the parents and children in the Twin Early Development Study (TEDS). TEDS is supported by a programme grant (G9424799) from the UK Medical Research Council.
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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
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