for researchers


Non-word Repetition Test

The assessments we do with your child have two purposes. Some assessments examine how your child is performing. For example, what is his vocabulary level, how many letters does he know or how well can he listen in noisy situations. However, there is another type of assessment that we do which looks at the skills underlying your child’s development. One such assessment is a Nonword Repetition Test (NRT).

A test of Nonword Repetition examines how well a child perceives and repeats a made-up word which is a potential (but not actual) word. For example, “shiloog” or “gulatopop”. While this seems like a very funny thing to do, it replicates an important process in language learning. Every time a child hears a word that he does not know, it is effectively a ‘nonword’ or a made-up word. In order to repeat the word, the child has to listen to the word, work out which sounds are in the word, put these sounds in the right order, remember them, work out how to say them in the correct order, and then say them. Therefore, asking your child to repeat a made-up word can tell us a lot about what is happening when he or she is learning a new word. Increasing our knowledge of how children with hearing loss perform on a NRT may help us to understand why some children with hearing loss learn language more efficiently than others.