Single word lists

Assessment of cleft palate speech characteristics in general are based on single consonants and consonants in clusters, except for assessment of hypernasality, which is based mainly on vowels. Many cleft centres in different countries use articulation/phonological assessment specific to their language (see English above). These have not been designed for the cleft population but for general assessment of children's speech sound production. If a more specific assessment is to be devised for the assessment of cleft speech it is suggested that the 'guidelines' below, devised by Birgit Hutters are followed. As the test sounds occur in words, special consideration needs to be given not only to the test sound inventory used, but also to the position and phonetic context of the test sound.

Single consonant inventory should include:

  • all pressure consonants
  • all or some low-pressure oral consonants
  • one or more nasal consonants

Vowel inventory should include:

  • all or some high vowels
  • all or some low vowels
  • some non-high/non-low vowels

As to phonetic context:

  • the number of contextual sounds should be limited

and the following should be avoided*:

  • pressure consonants
  • nasal consonants
  • vowels of different height (if there are other vowels in the word)

* Except if this 'heavy loading' of the speech production system is in focus

For 'test' consonants in clusters - due to loading of the velopharyngeal mechanism on the test consonant the following types of clusters should be included:

  • clusters with minimum loading (i.e. oral low-pressure consonants)

  • clusters with maximum loading (i.e. nasal consonants)

  • other types of clusters

As to the position of the test consonants in the word, the consonant should occur in:

  • 'strong position'*
  • other positions - if relevant for the consonant/language in question

*'Strong position' is the position where the test sound is most distinctly articulated, most easily recognizable and minimally influenced by the context. This position usually implies that the consonant occurs in word - or syllable - initial stressed position.

With regard to the number of representations of each test consonant:

  • single(ton) test consonants: three times in 'strong position', twice in other positions
  • in clusters: twice

Other requirements for the structure of the word list:

  • the test consonants - and subsequently the words - should be randomly ordered
  • high vowels should occur in approximately ten of the words which also have a test consonant in 'strong position'


Word list (STAP) available here. The STAP (South Tyneside Assessment of Phonology) test was developed by Susan Armstrong BSc, MCST. and Maureen Ainley LCST., MCST. and has been reproduced here with the authors permission. The STAP test is published by Stass Publications, Northumberland, UK.

STAP test (pdf)