AB Short Word List

The AB short word list test first devised by Arthur Boothroyd in 1968, is widely used in the UK as a speech recognition test and for rehabilitation.  The Parrot AB test consists of 8 word lists, with each list containing 10 words.  Each word has three phonemes constructed as consonant – vowel – consonant with 30 phonemes, 10 vowels and 20 consonants present in each list.  The new Parrot AB combines the digital reliability of the Parrot with the benefits of the AB short word list.  These include:

  • The large number of words which diminishes the effects of learning factors
  • 80 separate words have been recorded on the Parrot: these can be played at differing sound levels at the touch of a button
  • There is a high inter list equivalence as the recognition score is based on the phonemes correct out of 30

We use a subset (8 lists) of the original 15 word lists.  The lists that have been selected as being the most relevant (after consultation with a wide range of audiology professionals), are: 2,5,6,8,11,13,14,15.

List 1 (2)List 2 (5)List 3 (6)List 4 (8)List 5 (11)List 6 (13)List 7 (14)List 8 (15)

The child should repeat the word exactly as they hear it.  If they are not sure of the word they should guess it, and if only part of a word is heard, then they should say that part.  Present all the words in the list at the same sound level.  Make a note of the result of each presentation on the results sheet. The test can be conducted aided and/or unaided.  Use a different word list for each test.


Three points are assigned to each word in the AB word lists, one for each phoneme.  Only when a phoneme is entirely correct, does it obtain a score of 1. For example:

Test Word MAN   Response PAN

YUU Score = 2

Test Word SHOOT   Response SHOOTS

UUY Score = 2 as an addition counts as an error

For each word list a percentage score is obtained by calculating the points awarded out of 30.  Therefore, if a child scores 20 in one list presentation, the percentage score is (20/30) x 100% = 66%.