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The Universal Core vocabulary is a set of 36 highly useful single words that can be used alone or in combination to communicate for a range of purposes on countless topics with a wide variety of communication partners. Several formats are available to support student access through direct pointing or touch, eye gaze selection, and partner-assisted scanning on the Project Core website.


The set of words that compose the Universal Core vocabulary were identified and prioritized by the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies through a systematic processing of compiling existing lists of core vocabulary, lists of words on speech generating devices and communication apps, and investigating the frequency of the words in written language and the communication demands of academic instruction. This process is described in detail in a technical report and numerous presentations and publications.

The words that compose the Universal Core vocabulary are provided here in alphabetical order.

An Alphabetical List of The Universal Core Vocabulary

all in some
can it stop
different like that
do look turn
finished make up
get more want
go not what
good on when
he open where
help put who
here same why
I she you



The Universal Core vocabulary was produced, in part, under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs GrantsNo. H327S140017. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or polices of the Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred. This Universal Core vocabulary is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.   Creative Commons License