What are Phonological Processes?
Many children’s intelligibility is impacted by the use of phonological processes. These are simpliciations of difficult-to-produce adult sounds.
Phonological processes and are a way in which typically developing children simplify adult speech patterns. Some examples of commonly used phonological processes include but are not limited to:
- Affrication: replacement of a fricative consonant with an affricate consonant. For example: sun-tsun, zoo, dzoo.
- Alveolarization: replacement of consonants made with the teeth or lips with consonants made at the alveolar ridge. For exapmple: four-sore, thick-sick.
- Assimilation: production of a phoneme that is more like another phoneme in the target word. For example: cup-pup, dog-gog, kitty-kiki.
- Backing: substitution of a posterior consonant for an anterior consonant. Posterior consonants include: k, g, ng, h. For example: top-cop, do-goo.
- Cluster Reduction: deletion or replacement of one or more consonants in a consonant cluster, or two sounds together. For example: stop- top, black- back.
- Consonant Deletion: omission of a consonant in the word initial or word final position. For example: cat- at, cup-cuh.
- Deaffrication: replacement of an affricate consonant with a fricative consonant, or change of an affricate target phoneme to a stop. For example: chair- share, chair- tair.
- Denasalization: nasals become denasal. For example: mom- bob, neck-deck.
- Devoicing: deletion of voicing from voiced consonants.
- Depalatalization: movement of the place of articulation of a palatal sound from the palate to a position forward in the mouth, typically the alveolar region.
- Epenthesis: addition of consonants or vowels. For example: bread-buhread.
- Fronting: replacement of back consonants and palatal consonants with consonants produced at or in front of the alveolar ridge. For example: go-do, cop-pop, shoe-sue.
- Gliding: production of liquids /l/ and /r/ as glides /w/ and /j/. For example: red-wed, lion-yion.
- Labialization: replacement of consonants made with the tongue with consonants made with the lips.
- Metathesis: the position of two sounds is reversed, although both sounds are produced correctly. For example: spaghetti-pisghetti.
- Palatalization: alveolar fricatives become palatals. For example: sun-shun.
- Reduplication: repetition of phonemes or syllables. For example: bottle-baba.
- Stopping: replacement of continuing consonants or affricates with stop consonants. For example: shop-top, zoo-do.
- Stridency Deletion: omission of strident consonants or replacement of them with non-strident consonants.
- Syllable Deletion: omission of one syllable of a multi-syllable word, usually the weaker unstressed syllable.
- Vocalization: final position vocalic /l/ and /er/ becomes rounded vowels /u/ or /o/.
- Vowelization: substitution of a vowel for a consonant.
Phonological processes typically begin to disappear, or are suppressed by the age of four. However, developmental speech-sound norms differ in age and gender for each speech sound and cluster. The more phonological processes used together by a child at once, the more difficult it may be for a child to be understood by both familiar and unfamiliar conversation partners.
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Hi, I am a Speech-Language Pathologist at South Shore Therapies. I am passionate about planning and delivering creative, individualized treatment designed to meet the unique needs of each of my clients. Our mission with SST’s social media platform is to empower, educate and inspire families to take on life’s challenges while promoting an optimistic outlook and a brighter future.
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