Predictors of late language emergence and factors influencing later linguistic outcomes

Project description

Strategic research project of the University of Oulu
Focus institute: Eudaimonia
Faculty: Humanities

Late language emergence (LLE) refers to a situation where otherwise healthy children require more time to begin talking. It is typically benchmarked at the 24-month age level. Because the reasons behind LLE are relatively unexplored, the primary objective of this project is to gain understanding of the predictors of LLE – and early linguistic development in general – and also to shed light on the prognosis. Special emphasis is put on children’s social-emotional development and the mother–child interaction. Furthermore, the project aims to implement a multifactorial framework to explain LLE. Since LLE increases the risk for persistent language-learning problems and its prevalence is estimated to be even as high as 20%, a better understanding of the characteristics of LLE is critical. This kind of knowledge may help in preventing later learning difficulties and contributing to more equal opportunities for individuals with LLE in reaching their individual potential socially, educationally, vocationally, and psychologically.

Project coordinator

University of Oulu


Sari Kunnari

Sari Kunnari

Professor, Director of the Child Language Research Center