Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can enable individuals with little or no
functional speech to communicate functionally in a variety of communicative contexts. Aided
AAC systems for individuals who are not (yet) literate require that the vocabulary for the
system be preselected. This requires choosing a limited number of words from a pool of all
possibilities for inclusion in the system. Core vocabulary lists have been proposed and used
as one source for selecting words for an aided AAC system. By including the most commonly
and most frequently used words in an AAC system, access to novel utterance generation can
be facilitated. This in turn can enable communication across contexts and partners.
South Africa has approximately 6.85 million Afrikaans first language speakers. Since no core
vocabulary list has to date been determined for Afrikaans preschoolers, the goal of this study
was to identify the words used most frequently and commonly by South African Afrikaans-
speaking preschoolers without disabilities.
Spontaneous speech samples were collected from 12 Afrikaans-speaking preschool children
without disabilities. The samples were recorded during regular preschool activities by means
of small body-worn audio-recording devices. The recordings 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 among the 12 participants. For a
word to form part of the core vocabulary list, two criteria had to be met, namely a frequency
score of equal to or more than 0.5‰, and a commonality score of six (implying that at least
50% of the participants used this word). This led to the establishment of an Afrikaans core
vocabulary list of 239 words accounting for 79.4% of words used in the entire speech sample
that was collected. This core vocabulary was further described according to parts of speech.
The characteristics of the Afrikaans core vocabulary appear to be similar to those found in
previous core vocabulary studies, as a relatively small set of words was found to represent a
large proportion of speech. The results of the study can be used to guide the vocabulary
selection process for children from an Afrikaans language background who require AAC.
Dissertation (M(AAC))--University of Pretoria, 2019.