Article/Report  |   February 2007
Differences in the Nonword Repetition Performance of Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment: A Meta-Analysis
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Katharine Graf Estes, Department of Psychology, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705-2280. E-mail: kmgraf@wisc.edu.
  • Nicole M. Else-Quest is now at Villanova University, Villanova, PA.
    Nicole M. Else-Quest is now at Villanova University, Villanova, PA.×
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language
Article/Report   |   February 2007
Differences in the Nonword Repetition Performance of Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment: A Meta-Analysis
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2007, Vol.50, 177-195. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/015)
History: Accepted 24 May 2006 , Received 30 Jun 2005 , Revised 07 Dec 2005
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2007, Vol.50, 177-195. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/015)
History: Accepted 24 May 2006 , Received 30 Jun 2005 , Revised 07 Dec 2005

Purpose: This study presents a meta-analysis of the difference in nonword repetition performance between children with and without specific language impairment (SLI). The authors investigated variability in the effect sizes (i.e., the magnitude of the difference between children with and without SLI) across studies and its relation to several factors: type of nonword repetition task, age of SLI sample, and nonword length.

Method: The authors searched computerized databases and reference sections and requested unpublished data to find reports of nonword repetition tasks comparing children with and without SLI.

Results: Children with SLI exhibited very large impairments in nonword repetition, performing an average (across 23 studies) of 1.27 standard deviations below children without SLI. A moderator analysis revealed that different versions of the nonword repetition task yielded significantly different effect sizes, indicating that the measures are not interchangeable. The second moderator analysis found no association between effect size and the age of children with SLI. Finally, an exploratory meta-analysis found that children with SLI displayed difficulty repeating even short nonwords, with greater difficulty for long nonwords.

Conclusions: These findings have potential to affect how nonword repetition tasks are used and interpreted, and suggest several directions for future research.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access

Related Articles

Differences in the performance of children with specific language impairment and their typically developing peers on nonverbal cognitive tests: A meta-analysis
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2014, Vol., No Pagination Specified. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0363
Investigating the Relationship Between Nonword Repetition Performance and Syllabic Structure in Typical and Atypical Language Development
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research April 2013, Vol.56, 708-720. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0171)
Real-Word and Nonword Repetition in Italian-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment: A Study of Diagnostic Accuracy
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research February 2013, Vol.56, 323-336. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0304)
Lexicality and Frequency in Specific Language Impairment: Accuracy and Error Data from Two Nonword Repetition Tests
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2010, Vol.53, 1642-1655. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0222)
Nonword Repetition: A Comparison of Tests
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research October 2006, Vol.49, 970-983. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/070)