Background In clinical practice, Rolandic epilepsy is in many cases associated with developmental language impairment. However, from the literature it is unclear exactly which domains are affected; A wide variety of investigations are reported that each provide a different representation of language performance in these patients. Aims The aim of this study is to compare performance on the language domains between children with Rolandic epilepsy and healthy controls. Methods Prospective study of children with Rolandic epilepsy compared to healthy controls. 25 children (mean age 136.6 months, SD 23.0) with Rolandic epilepsy and 25 age-matched healthy controls were tested on their language function using the CELF-4 (Clinical evaluation of Language Fundamentals, Dutch edition). The healthy control were not matched regard to other important factors, particularly educational attainment and co-morbidity. Expressive language, receptive language, language content, language structure and language working memory were tested. Results In children with Rolandic epilepsy, the core language score was significant lower compared with healthy controls. They scored specifically lower on the receptive language index and language content index (both p = 0.002). A trend towards decreased expressive language index was observed (p = 0.054). Language structure and language working memory were in the normal range. Conclusion Language was found to be impaired in children with typical Rolandic epilepsy. Especially semantic language processing including receptive language and language content was significantly impaired. The common denominator of these functions is semantic language processing.