2d. Defining a Core Vocabulary

Updated by Global Symbols with UNICEF ECARO


  • A Core vocabulary includes those words used in most conversations.
  • Core words are approximately 50-400 words that make up most of our conversations, that support a main idea or concept when creating messages.
  • Different studies showed that around 50 words account for 40-50% of our daily communication.
  • Only 100 words account for 60%, and 200-400 words make up 80% of the words we use every day.
  • Core words are usually verbs, adjectives, and pronouns and are less likely to be nouns.
  • The symbols representing these words are used with important topic words and other categories. With access to these core words, AAC users gain a powerful tool to communicate for different purposes.

Discover more about developing symbol use and core vocabularies

Core Words and Fringe Words are Important for Communication