Original Research

The core vocabulary of South African Afrikaans-speaking Grade R learners without disabilities

Danél Hattingh, Kerstin M. Tönsing
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 67, No 1 | a701 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v67i1.701 | © 2020 Danél Hattingh, Kerstin M. Tönsing | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 February 2020 | Published: 20 July 2020

About the author(s)

Danél Hattingh, Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Kerstin M. Tönsing, Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can enable individuals with little or no functional speech to communicate functionally in a variety of communication contexts. AAC systems for individuals who are not (yet) fully literate often require that the vocabulary for the system be preselected. By including the most commonly- and most frequently-used words (core vocabulary) in an AAC system, access to novel utterance generation can arguably be facilitated. At present, no Afrikaans core vocabulary list based on children’s speech samples exists.

Objectives: This study aimed to identify the most frequently- and commonly-used words of South African Afrikaans-speaking Grade R learners without disabilities.

Method: Spontaneous speech samples were collected from 12 Afrikaans-speaking Grade R learners during regular preschool activities. Samples were transcribed and analysed to determine the number of different words used, the frequency with which each word was used, as well as the commonality of word use across the 12 participants.

Results: A total of 239 words met the criteria for inclusion in the core vocabulary (words used with a frequency of more than 0.05% in the sample, and used by at least half of the participants). These words accounted for 79.4% of words used in the entire speech sample.

Conclusion: The established core vocabulary consists of a relatively small set of words that was found to represent a large proportion of speech. AAC team members may consider including these words on Afrikaans AAC systems that are intended to give access to a measure of novel utterance generation.


Keywords

Afrikaans; augmentative and alternative communication (AAC); core vocabulary; Grade R learners; vocabulary selection.

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