Speech and Articulation Skills Checklist



Phonological development:
The gradual process of acquiring adult speech patterns is called phonological development.

Phonological processes:
All children make predictable pronunciation errors (not really “errors” at all, when you stop to think about it) when they are learning to talk like adults. These “errors” are sometimes called phonological processes, or phonological deviations.

Phonological Processes in Normal Speech Development

PHONOLOGICAL PROCESS (Phonological Deviation)



Context sensitive voicing

"Pig" is pronounced and "big"
"Car" is pronounced as "gar"

A voiceless sound is replaced by a voiced sound. In the examples given, /p/ is replaced by /b/, and /k/ is replaced by /g/. Other examples might include /t/ being replaced by /d/, or /f/ being replaced by /v/.

Word-final devoicing

"Red" is pronounced as "ret"
"Bag" is pronounced as "bak"

A final voiced consonant in a word is replaced by a voiceless consonant. Here, /d/ has been replaced by /t/ and /g/ has been replaced by /k/.

Final consonant deletion

"Home" is pronounced a "hoe"
"Calf" is pronounced as "cah"

The final consonant in the word is omitted. In these examples, /m/ is omitted (or deleted) from "home" and /f/ is omitted from "calf".

Velar fronting

"Kiss" is pronounced as "tiss"
"Give" is pronounced as "div"
"Wing" is pronounced as "win"

A velar consonant, that is a sound that is normally made with the middle of the tongue in contact with the palate towards the back of the mouth, is replaced with consonant produced at the front of the mouth. Hence /k/ is replaced by /t/, /g/ is replaced by /d/, and 'ng' is replaced by /n/.

Palatal fronting

"Ship" is pronounced as "sip"
"Measure" is pronounced as "mezza"

The fricative consonants 'sh' and 'zh' are replaced by fricatives that are made further forward on the palate, towards the front teeth. 'sh' is replaced by /s/, and 'zh' is replaced by /z/.

Consonant harmony

"Cupboard" is pronounced as "pubbed"
"dog" is pronounced as "gog"

The pronunciation of the whole word is influenced by the presence of a particular sound in the word. In these examples: (1) the /b/ in "cupboard" causes the /k/ to be replaced /p/, which is the voiceless cognate of /b/, and (2) the /g/ in "dog" causes /d/ to be replaced by /g/.

Weak syllable deletion

Telephone is pronounced as "teffone"
"Tidying" is pronounced as "tying"

Syllables are either stressed or unstressed. In "telephone" and "tidying" the second syllable is "weak" or unstressed. In this phonological process, weak syllables are omitted when the child says the word.

Cluster reduction

"Spider" is pronounced as "pider"
"Ant" is pronounced as "at"

Consonant clusters occur when two or three consonants occur in a sequence in a word. In cluster reduction part of the cluster is omitted. In these examples /s/ has been deleted form "spider" and /n/ from "ant".

Gliding of liquids

"Real" is pronounced as "weal"
"Leg" is pronounced as "yeg"

The liquid consonants /l/ and /r/ are replaced by /w/ or 'y'. In these examples, /r/ in "real" is replaced by /w/, and /l/ in "leg" is replaced by 'y'.


"Funny" is pronounced as "punny"
"Jump" is pronounced as "dump"

A fricative consonant (/f/ /v/ /s/ /z/, 'sh', 'zh', 'th' or /h/), or an affricate consonant ('ch' or /j/) is replaced by a stop consonant (/p/ /b/ /t/ /d/ /k/ or /g/). In these examples, /f/ in "funny" is replaced by /p/, and 'j' in "jump" is replaced by /d/.


Elimination of phonological processes:
Phonological processes are usually ‘gone” by the time a child is five years of age, though there is individual variation between children.

Ages by which Phonological Processes are Eliminated




Context sensitive voicing

pig = big


Word-final de-voicing

pig = pick


Final consonant deletion

comb = coe



car = tar
ship = sip


Consonant harmony

mine = mime
kittycat = tittytat


Weak syllable deletion

elephant = efant
potato = tato
television =tevision
banana = nana


Cluster reduction

spoon = poon
train = chain
clean = keen


Gliding of liquids

run = one
leg = weg
leg = yeg


Stopping /f/

fish = tish


Stopping /s/

soap = dope


Stopping /v/

very = berry


Stopping /z/

zoo = doo


Stopping 'sh'

shop = dop


Stopping 'j'

jump = dump


Stopping 'ch'

chair = tare


Stopping voiceless 'th'

thing = ting


Stopping voiced 'th'

them = dem



Phonetic development:
In column 3, the term 'voiced' refers to the vibration of the vocal cords while the sound is being made. The term 'voiceless' is applied to sounds that are made without vocal cord vibration. The terms fricative, glide, stop, nasal, liquid and affricate refer to the way the sounds are made, or the "manner of articulation".

Table 4: Normal phonetic development

Column 1
Ages by which 75% of children tested in a study accurately used the speech sounds listed in Column 2 in single words.

Column 2
Speech sounds

Column 3
The manner in which the speech sounds are produced

3 years

h as in he
zh as in measure
y as in yes
w as in we
ng as in sing
m as in me
n as in no
p as in up
k as in car
t as in to
b as in be
g as in go
d as in do

Voiceless fricative
Voiced fricative
Voiced glide
Voiced glide
Voiced nasal
Voiced nasal
Voiced nasal
Voiceless stop
Voiceless stop
Voiceless stop
Voiced stop
Voiced stop
Voiced stop

3 years 6 months

f as in if

Voiceless fricative

4 years

l as in lay
sh as in she
ch as in chew

Voiced liquid
Voiceless fricative
Voiceless affricate

4 years 6 months

j as in jaw
s as in so
z as in is

Voiced affricate
Voiceless fricative
Voiced fricative

5 years

r as in red

Voiced liquid

6 years

v as in Vegemite

Voiced fricative

8 years

th as in this

Voiced fricative

8 years 6 months

th as in thing

Voiceless fricative

Back to Speech Therapy Services Provided 


Bowen, C, (1998). Developmental phonological disorders. A practical guide for families and teachers. Melbourne: ACER Press.
Grunwell, P. (1997). Natural phonology. In M. Ball & R. Kent (Eds.), The new phonologies: Developments in clinical linguistics. San Deigo: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.

Kilminster, M.G.E., & Laird, E.M. (1978) Articulation development in children aged three to nine years. Australian Journal of Human Communication Disorders, 6, 1, 23-30.

Lof, G.L. (2004). Confusion about speech sound norms and their use. Thinking Publications Online Conference. www.thinkingpublications.com/LangConf04/OLCIntro.html Accessed April 21 2004.
Lynch, J.I., Brookshire, B.L., & Fox, D.R. (1980). A Parent - Child Cleft Palate Curriculum: Developing Speech and Language. CC Publications, Oregon.