The assessment of nonword repetition in children goes back at least to 1974, when the Goldman–Fristoe–Woodcock Auditory Skills Battery was published, including a subtest (Sound Mimicry) assessing nonword repetition (Goldman, Fristoe, & Woodcock, 1974). Nevertheless, it was not until 20 years later, when Gathercole and Baddeley (1990) reported a study of short-term memory in children with specific language impairment (SLI), that a theoretical framework was developed linking deficits in nonword repetition to impaired language acquisition. Gathercole's Keynote in this issue (2006) tells the story of how this initial study revealed a striking nonword repetition deficit in children with SLI, complementing work on typically developing children showing a major role of phonological short-term memory (STM) in word learning. As she points out, the story is a complex one: phonological STM is not the only skill tapped by the nonword repetition task, and children may do poorly for different reasons. Furthermore, relationships between nonword repetition and word learning may be reciprocal, with vocabulary level affecting children's ability to segment nonwords efficiently and retain them in memory. However, the original finding, that deficient nonword repetition is a strong correlate of SLI, has stood the test of time, to the extent that poor performance on this test has been used successfully as a marker of a heritable phenotype in molecular genetic studies of SLI (Newbury, Monaco, & Bishop, 2005).