PURPOSE: To assess the usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), karyotyping, brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP), electroencephalogram (EEG), tandem mass screening test, and newborn metabolic screening test in children with language delay for diagnosing underlying diseases. METHODS: From January 2000 to June 2007, a retrospective chart review was performed for 122 children with language delay who visited the Child Neurology Clinic at Yeungnam University Hospital and who underwent neuropsychologic tests and other diagnostic evaluations for underlying diseases. They were grouped into phenomenological diagnostic categories, and test results were analyzed according to the underlying diseases. RESULTS: Of 122 patients, 47 (38.5%) had mental retardation, 40 (32.8%) had developmental language disorders, 23 (18.9%) had borderline IQ, and 12 (9.8%) had autism spectrum disorder. In 26 (21.3%) cases, the causes or relevant clinical findings to explain language delay were found. Eight (10.4%) of 77 MRIs, 6 (8.0%) of 75 EEGs, and 4 (5%) of 80 BAEPs showed abnormal results. Results directly attributed to diagnosing underlying diseases were 2 hearing defects in BAEPs and 1 bilateral perisylvian cortical dysplasia in MRIs. No abnormal results were found in karyotyping, tandem mass screening tests, and newborn screening tests. CONCLUSION: Commonly used tests to diagnose the cause of language delay are not very effective and should only be used selectively, according to patient characteristics. However, despite the low diagnostic yields from these tests, because many patients show abnormal results, these tests are useful when conducted in complete evaluation.