Language comprehension and non-word repetition in children with language impairment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Non-word repetition has, not without controversy, been considered a reliable index of phonological memory in children with language impairment (LI). Recent studies do, however, emphasize the strong link between non-word repetition skills and phonological output in pre-school children with LI. The purpose of the present study was to explore the relationship between non-word repetition and different aspects of language comprehension (comprehension of words, sentences and fables) in 27 children with LI. The results showed that non-word repetition significantly correlated with all measures of language comprehension in the children with LI. Partial correlations revealed a weaker relationship between vocabulary comprehension, comprehension of fables and non-word repetition than between non-word repetition and comprehension of grammar. A possible explanation for the findings may be that the tests assessing comprehension of grammar strained language processing and storage more than the other tests. It is concluded that non-word repetition cannot be considered to be a single, reliable index of phonological memory in pre-school children with LI. Non-word repetition incorporates a range of processes necessary for language comprehension and production, and thus mirrors the general language status of the child.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified


  • Non-word Repetition, Language Comprehension, Language Impairment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-380
JournalClinical Linguistics & Phonetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch