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Conversational samples were obtained from 57 children aged from 8 to 12 years with specific language impairment, and 67 control children aged from 4 to 12 years. Fourteen of the language-impaired children fitted the clinical description of semantic-pragmatic disorder. It was found that exchange structure, turntaking, conversational repair and use of cohesive devices could be assessed with adequate inter-rater and test-retest reliability. Children with semantic-pragmatic disorder produced more initiations than other children. Some of these children also violated turntaking rules by interrupting the conversational partner to an unusual degree. Use of cohesion was normal for children with semantic-pragmatic disorder, but limited in other language-impaired children. Analysis of conversations may be more useful than conventional language tests for identifying linguistic abnormalities in children with semantic-pragmatic disorder.


Journal article


Br J Disord Commun

Publication Date





211 - 239


Child, Child Language, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Language Development, Language Disorders, Male, Semantics