The Arabic CDI - Words Only

Arabic Communicative Development Inventory

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Go to the online Arabic CDI


Communicative Development Inventories (CDIs) are tools for measuring vocabulary size and growth. These vocabulary 'checklists' have a long history in the study of language development.

This checklist of words is a tool for assessing the development of receptive and productive vocabulary through parental report. We typically use it with children aged from about 8 to 30 months.

It contains 100 standard words, for which both comprehension and production are assessed. It is available in 17 dialects of Arabic, and each version can be downloaded. Alternatively, you can fill the form online and it will calculate for you the comprehension and production scores, which you can then compare to the norms displayed below.

Go to the online Arabic CDI

Previous Studies

On this site you will find the norms that have been calculated from a sample of 436 Egyptian children. We have established that the data from another 168 children from the remaining 16 countries fit the Egyptian vocabulary model, so we can tentatively assume that the Egyptian norms can be used for a child raised in one of the other remaining 16 countries.

The graphs below show how the number of words produced and understood by children changes as a function of children's age.

The list of the available Arabic dialects is:

  • Egyptian
  • Saudi
  • Moroccan
  • Iraqi
  • Syrian
  • Palestinian
  • Tunisian
  • Algerian
  • Libyan
  • Omani
  • Yemeni
  • Qatari
  • Emirates
  • Jordanian
  • Lebanese
  • Sudanese
  • Bahraini

Clinical use of the CDI

Following a common practice recommended by Rescorla (1989) for another type of language test, we would suggest referring for further assessment any 2-year-old child who understands less than 40 words of the short Arabic CDI Words Only (20th percentile) and produces less than 18 words (20th percentile). This is a conservative cutoff.

If you use the Arabic CDI, please cite:

Abdelwahab, A. G. S., Forbes, S., Cattani, A., Goslin, J., & Floccia, C. (2021). An Adaptation of the MacArthur-Bates CDI in 17 Arabic Dialects for Children Aged 8 to 30 Months. Language Learning and Development, 1-22.
Publication PDF
Norms for comprehension and production