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: prudction 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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