Keywords: Language development, specific language development, definitional competence, metalinguistic competence, semantic development
This study investigates the definitional skills in children with specific language impairment (SLI). 42 children with SLI and 89 control children with typical language development matched by school grade were divided into three age groups of 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10 year-olds and presented a definition task. Children were asked to define 23 words belonging to different grammatical categories (nouns, verbs, adjectives). Definitions were coded for form and, in the last two levels, for both form and content. Results show that SLI children score significantly lower than typically developing children in both measures. Implications for assessment and intervention are discussed.