Oral-diadochokinetic rates for Hebrew-speaking healthy ageing population: non-word versus real-word repetition

Boaz M. Ben-David, Michal Icht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Oral-diadochokinesis (oral-DDK) tasks are extensively used in the evaluation of motor speech abilities. Currently, validated normative data for older adults (aged 65 years and older) are missing in Hebrew. The effect of task stimuli (non-word versus real-word repetition) is also non-clear in the population of older adult Hebrew speakers. Aims: (1) To establish a norm for oral-DDK rate for older adult (aged 65 years and older) Hebrew speakers, and to investigate the possible effect of age and gender on performance rate; and (2) to examine the effects of stimuli (non-word versus real word) on oral-DDK rates. Methods & Procedures: In experiment 1, 88 healthy older Hebrew speakers (60–95 years, 48 females and 40 males) were audio-recorded while performing an oral-DDK task (repetition of /pataka/), and repetition rates (syllables/s) were coded. In experiment 2, the effect of real-word repetition was evaluated. Sixty-eight older Hebrew speakers (aged 66–95 years, 43 females and 25 males) were asked to repeat ‘pataka’ (non-word) and ‘bodeket’ (Hebrew real word). Outcomes & Results: Experiment 1: Oral-DDK performance for older adult Hebrew speakers was 5.07 syllables/s (SD = 1.16 syllables/s), across age groups and gender. Comparison of this data with Hebrew norms for younger adults (and equivalent data in English) shows the following gradient of oral-DDK rates: ages 15–45 > 65–74 > 75–86 years. Gender was not a significant factor in our data. Experiment 2: Repetition of real words was faster than that of non-words, by 13.5%. Conclusions & Implications: The paper provides normative values for oral-DDK rates for older Hebrew speakers. The data show the large impact of ageing on oro-motor functions. The analysis further indicates that speech and language pathologists should consider separate norms for clients of 65–74 years and those of 75–86 years. Hebrew rates were found to be different from English norms for the oldest group, shedding light on the impact of language on these norms. Finally, the data support using a dual-protocol (real- and non-word repetition) with older adults to improve differential diagnosis of normal and pathological ageing in this task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-310
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2017


  • Hebrew
  • ageing
  • oral-diadochokinesis (oral-DDK)
  • oral-motor function
  • word repetition


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