A prospective follow-up of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and term control infants was conducted. The effects of BPD and VLBW on speech-language development and specific language impairment at 3 years of age were investigated, controlling for the effects of sociodemographic and other medical risk factors. Groups were compared on cognitive and speech-language outcomes using the Battelle Language and Bayley Mental Scales of Infant Development. Children with a history of BPD had lower receptive language skills than VLBW children without BPD, who in turn had lower receptive skills than term children. Children with a history of BPD also had lower expressive skills than the two comparison groups, whereas VLBW children without BPD did not differ in expressive language from term children. When IQ score was controlled, children with BPD demonstrated specific language impairment in receptive language. The presence of patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) was the best predictor of language deficits and the combined occurrence of PDA and BPD resulted in differentially lower language scores. Neurologic complications, low socioeconomic status, and minority race were also significant predictors of language delay. The findings emphasize the importance of considering both medical and sociodemographic factors in evaluating the risk of VLBW infants for poorer speech-language outcomes.