Production

One of the obvious ways that children's sentences change over time is that they gradually grow longer. This fact is the basis for one of the most widely used measures of grammatical development, the mean length of utterance (MLU), which is the average length of a child's utterances as measured in morphemes. The assumption underlying this measure is that each newly acquired element of grammatical knowledge adds length to the child's utterances. Studies confirm that MLU increases gradually over time, and that it is a better predictor of the child's language level than chronological age. Nevertheless, it is only valid as a measure of development up to an average sentence length of four morphemes, and it may not be useful without significant modifications as a measure for languages other than English.

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