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Hierarchical word lists for apraxia of speech assessment

hwlApraxia of speech is a motor speech impairment often resulting from infarctions of the left middle cerebral artery. It is frequently associated with aphasic impairment, sometimes also with dysarthria.

Individually tailored treatments of apraxia of speech require appropriate assessment methods to verify the presence of apraxia of speech, its severity, and its profile. Moreover, the syndrome must be differentiated from phonological impairment and from the dysarthrias.

The “Hierarchische Wortlisten” (Hierarchical Word Lists; HWL) provide a structured list of words and pseudowords elicited in a word repetition format. The materials are organized according to phonological/phonetic complexity criteria. A patient’s speech samples are analyzed for segmental errors (phonetic distortions, phonemic errors) and for dysfluencies, to yield a test profile describing the error pattern and influencing factors.

Download the materials here.

In a recently developed online version of the HWL, speech samples can be analyzed by experienced listeners affiliated with a central laboratory.

Materials for the treatment of apraxia of speech

The EKN has also developed a collection of word lists that can be used in phonetically structured treatments of apraxia of speech. The ca. 2400 words are arranged by syllable number, syllabic complexity, and phonetic features. The materials are supplemented by theoretical comments and a short manual.

Download the materials here.

Administration of these materials can be acquired in special courses for speech language therapists. See



  • Liepold, M., Ziegler, W., & Brendel, B. (2003) Hierarchische Wortlisten. Ein Nachsprechtest für die Sprechapraxiediagnostik. In W. Ziegler, G. Kerkhoff, N. Troppmann & G. Goldenberg (Hrsg.), EKN - Materialien für die Rehabilitation. Dortmund: Borgmann.
  • Ziegler, W., & Aichert, I. (2015). How much is a word? Predicting ease of articulation planning from apraxic speech error patterns. Cortex, 69, 24-39.