Phonological Components Analysis: A Step-By-Step Guide

Phonological components analysis (PCA) is a naming treatment for people with expressive aphasia.

A few small studies have shown that it improves naming deficits and may generalize to other communication skills (Leonard, 2008, 2014; van Hees, 2013).

In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to phonological component analysis for speech therapy, with charts and examples.

Download the free Naming Photos PDF for full-color pictures to use during your aphasia treatment.

semantic feature analysis images

Read More About Aphasia Therapy:

What is Phonological Components Analysis (PCA)? 

what is phonological component analysis

Phonological Components Analysis (PCA) is a word-finding treatment for patients with expressive aphasia.

If a patient with aphasia has an impaired phonological system (think phonemes and word structure), they may struggle to find the right sounds to say a word.

PCA treatment works by helping them analyze the sound components of a target word. The goal is that, with enough phonological information, they can then come up with the target word.

PCA is modeled after semantic feature analysis, another naming treatment. More on that below.

What Are The Phonological Components?

The 5 phonological components are:

  1. Rhyming Word. What does the word rhyme with? 
  2. First Sound. What’s the first sound in the word? 
  3. Another Word. What’s another word that starts with that sound?
  4. Final Sound. What’s the last sound in the word?
  5. Number of Syllables. How many syllables does the word have?

How To Do Phonological Components Analysis Treatment

phonological component analysis
Phonological component analysis chart from the Aphasia Pack
  1. Present the PCA chart
  2. Present the target picture
  3. Ask the patient to name the picture
  4. One by one, prompt them to name the 5 phonological components
  5. Write the components on the chart as the patient names them
  6. If the patient can’t generate a component, show and read a list of up to 3 choices for that component
  7. Again, ask the patient to name the picture
    • Summarize the chart to prompt a correct answer

Start with 40 picture cards: In the next section you’ll learn how to choose words, but here are some to begin with. Separate the cards into groups of 10. Use one set of 10 picture cards per session.

Rotate through the picture sets until the patient achieves 80% accuracy independently for each set.

How To Choose Words

phonological components analysis word list

To keep your treatment person-centered, work with the patient and/or their caregivers to choose a list of words that are both meaningful and difficult for them to name.

If that doesn’t elicit enough words, add words to the list that you think are appropriate for your patient. These may be names of loved ones, words about ADLs, interests, safety, etc.

Phonological Components Analysis Example

phonological component analysis example
  1. Target picture and word: City
  2. “What is this a picture of?”
  3. “What does the word rhyme with? Good try. Here’s a clue. Does the word rhyme with cup, elevator, or kitty?” (Kitty)
  4. “What’s the first sound in the word?” (S)
  5. “What’s another word that starts with that sound?” (See)
  6. “What’s the last sound in the word?” (Y)
  7. “How many syllables does the word have?” (2)
  8. “So the word starts with the ‘s’-sound like the word ‘see’ and ends with the ‘e’-sound. It rhymes with ‘kitty’ and has 2 syllables. What’s the word?”

What Is The Difference Between SFA and PCA?

semantic feature analysis chart
Semantic feature analysis chart

Phonological components analysis was modeled after semantic feature analysis.

Both PCA and SFA are naming therapies that help people with anomia improve their word retrieval.

Phonological Components Analysis Semantic Features Analysis Details
Word-retrieval treatment
Focuses on word structure (phonology)
Focuses on word meaning (semantics)
Uses picture cards

Aphasia Worksheets & PDFs

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