Abstract The aim of this study is to provide further characterization of a subgroup of so-called “Grammatical specific language-impaired (SLI)” children. The Grammatical SLI children have a persistent and disproportionate impairment in grammatical comprehension and expression of language. Previous research has indicated that their language impairment may be characterized by a domain-specific and modular language deficit. This study provides an initial investigation as to whether there is a genetic basis underlying their disorder as has been found for other forms of SLI and for SLI in general. The incidence of familial aggregation of language impairment was investigated in 12 Grammatical SLI children (aged 9:3 to 12:10). A familial language impairment (LI) history was classified as positive if one or more of the probands' relatives had a history of a speech/language or reading/writing problem which required speech therapy or any other form of remedial help. Case history information provided an initial indication that the Grammatical SLI children had a significantly higher incidence of a positive familial LI history than could be expected by chance. A questionnaire provided evidence of a positive LI history in the first-degree relatives of the SLI probands and 49 normally developing control probands. The SLI probands had a clearly and significantly higher incidence of a positive familial LI history than the control probands (77.8 vs. 28.5%, respectively). The results are consistent with a genetic basis underlying Grammatical SLI. The pattern of impairment in the SLI probands' relatives is consistent with an autosomal dominant genetic inheritance. In contrast to the control probands, the SLI probands' impaired relatives did not show a male gender bias. Thus, the gene does not appear to be sex-linked. The data indicate that further research is warranted to investigate the nature of the LI in the relatives of the Grammatical SLI probands and the genetic characteristics of this subgroup. The implications for the biological, domain-specific, and modular bases to language are discussed.