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Creating a non-English core word vocabulary: Challenges faced while developing the Spanish Proloquo2Go vocabulary

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Core words are the high frequency words that make up most of what we say everyday, these words include pronouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions and to a lesser degree nouns and interjections. Vocabularies based on core words have been proven to be very useful for teaching language and they are used extensively in AAC systems both high-tech and low-tech.

While English core words are very well researched and understood, for other languages (Spanish in our case) core word research lags behind in both depth and quantity. The search for core words starts by finding the high frequency words used across contexts by age appropriate individuals.

Core words are not the only words needed for communication, a rich collection of nouns, verbs and adjectives is necessary to ensure a more precise message that's understood correctly by the listener when the context is not enough, these words are known as fringe vocabulary. Fringe vocabulary is not very dependent on language, but on culture, and the selection of these words is going to depend more on where the AAC user lives, his surroundings and his personal tastes than on which language this person speaks.

One of the biggest differences between English and Spanish is grammar. English is a mostly analytic language (relies on separate word combination), while Spanish is a highly synthetic language (relies on word inflections). This means that inflections, particularly verb inflections, play a very important role in Spanish grammar.


Jose Antonio PĂ©rez Madrid    


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