February 1, 2024

Common Childhood Mispronunciations

Learn about common childhood mispronunciations and when it's time for Speech Therapy.

This may sound odd coming from a speech-language therapist, but articulation errors are actually normal depending on the age of the child and the misarticulated sounds. While children are learning to produce the sounds of a language, they will simplify the words to make them easier to produce and coordinate. These simplifications are called phonological processes. As a child grows and matures, phonological processes are eliminated naturally. For some children, phonological processes persist, warranting speech-language pathology.

Common phonological processes that are expected to be eliminated from a child’s speech by the age of three and four years of age:

Processes Eliminated by Three Years:

  1. Unstressed syllable deletion: deleting a weak syllable (e.g., banana à nana)
  2. Final consonant deletion: deleting the consonant at the end of the word (e.g., hat à ha)
  3. Diminutization: adding a “i” to the end of nouns (e.g., dog à doggy)
  4. Consonant assimilation: changing a sound so that it takes on a characteristic of another sound in the word (e.g., cat à tat)
  5. Reduplication: repeating phonemes or syllables (e.g., water à wawa)

Processes Eliminated by Four Years:

  1. Fronting of initial velar sounds: substituting a front sound for a back sound (e.g., can à tan)
  2. Deaffication: replacing an affricate sound (“ch” and “j”) with a continuant (“f, v, s, z, sh, zh”) or stop (“p, b, t, d, k, g”) (e.g., chip à sip)
  3. Stopping: substituting a stop consonant (“p, b, t, d, k, g”) for any other stop (e.g., sun à dun).

By the age of seven, it is expected that all phonological processes are eliminated from a child’s speech.

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Although we talk about our services here, our highest goal is for you to feel comfortable and knowledgeable about picking a provider that is the best fit for your needs. You are making a decision that will impact the entire trajectory of your child’s life!
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