A systematic difference between the adult target form and the child’s output form.
Phonological process or pattern:
e.g., your client says [tɑk] for sock, [du] for zoo, [pɔr] for four, and [beɪs] for vase.
We could write separate rules: /s/ for /t/, /z/ for /d/, /f/ for /p/, and /v/ for /b/.
Or we could write one rule for the entire class of phonemes:
In this case-- Stopping: A fricative is replaced with a stop with the same place of articulation and voicing.
Three major categories of child phonological patterns
Syllable structure patterns;
Simplify the shape of the word in terms of the number of syllables OR the number of sounds per syllable.
Syllable structure pattern
Replace one sound with another sound that might be easier to produce.
Change a sound to be more similar to a nearby sound.
(Like assimilation in adult speech, but more extensive)
Child speakers may truncate/shorten words with two or more syllables. Deleted syllables are generally unstressed.
e.g. /bǝlun/ balloon > [lun], not [bǝ].
e.g. /kӕndɪ/ candy > [kӕ], not [dɪ].
Weak syllable deletion
Early in development (before 2;6), child might produce multisyllabic words with more than one copy of the same syllable.
e.g. bottle > [bɑbɑ]
Young children may simplify a CVC syllable to simpler CV form.
e.g. /pɑp/ > [pɑ]
Final/coda consonant deletion
One or more consonants are deleted from a string of multiple adjacent consonants (a consonant cluster).
e.g. /snoʊ/ > [noʊ], snow, /straɪp/ > [taɪp], stripe
A fricative is replaced with a stop.
e.g. /sɑk/, sock > [tɑk]; /zu/, zoo > [du]
Resulting stop typically has same place of articulation as fricative.
Or the closest possible place: Interdental and postalveolar fricatives may be replaced with an alveolar stop, e.g. /ðɪs/ > [dɪs].
Remember to use a diacritic if voicing differs from original fricative.
Place of articulation changes to more anterior position.
Fronting; two types:
Velar fronting: Velar consonants are fronted to alveolar place:
e.g. /kӕt/, cat > [tӕt]
Palatal fronting: Postalveolar fricatives/affricates are fronted to alveolar place:
e.g. /ʃu/, shoe > [su]
Two types of assimilatory patterns
- Local: assimilation between two adjacent sounds:
- in gold > [ɪŋgoʊld]
- Nonlocal (consonant harmony): assimilation across one or more intervening sounds:
- ding > [gɪŋ]
A velar consonant causes another consonant elsewhere in the word to take on a velar place of
articulation. Most common type.
e.g. /dɔg/, dog > [gɔg]; /kʌp/, cup > [kʌk]
Velar consonant harmony / velar assimilation;
- Can go in either direction; regressive (right-to-left)
- direction is more common.
A labial consonant causes another consonant elsewhere in the word to take on a labial place of articulation.
e.g. /boʊt/, boat > [boʊp]
Labial consonant harmony / labial assimilation
Two types of voicing assimilation (a local assimilation)
Prevocalic voicing: A voiceless consonant becomes voiced before a vowel. It assimilates in voicing to the following vowel:
e.g. /pɪg/, pig > [p̬ɪg] or [bɪg]
Final devoicing: A voiced word-final consonant becomes voiceless. It assimilates in voicing to the following silence:
e.g. /bӕd/, bad > [bӕd̥] or [bӕt]
Both are common processes, but difficult to detect because voiced-voiceless contrast can be ambiguous in child speech.
Less typical patterns
Some children exhibit idiosyncratic patterns that are not regularly observed in children developing typically.
Glottal replacement: A consonant, usually a stop, is replaced with glottal stop. e.g. back > [bæʔ]
Backing: An alveolar or other anterior sound is replaced with a velar sound in the absence of another velar. e.g. tap > [kæp]
Initial consonant deletion, e.g. cut > [ʌt]
Stopping of glides, e.g. yes > [dɛs]
Spirantization: The reverse of stopping; a stop is replaced with a fricative. e.g. doll > [zɔl]
A prevocalic consonant, usually a liquid (/l/ or /r/), is replaced with a glide (/w/ or /j/).
e.g. /ræbɪt/, rabbit > [wæbɪt]
Not all children who misarticulate the /r/ sound have a true phonological pattern of gliding.
The sound the child produces may be a distorted (derhotacized) /r/ rather than a true /w/.
- Use a subscript‿ diacritic to transcribe distorted /r/
- rabbit > [r̮æbɪt]
- rip > [r̮ɪp]
Vocalization or vowelization
Process similar to gliding, but affecting postvocalic liquids.
/ɚ/ and rhotic diphthongs lose their /r/-coloring.
Coda /l/ merges with preceding vowel.
Can result in a variety of vowels, including /ǝ/, /o/, /ɔ/.
- e.g. /snikɚ/, sneaker > [snikǝ]
- e.g. /hɔrs/ horse, > [hɔs]
- e.g. /kæsəl/ castle, > [kæsoʊ]
Especially common in words with syllabic /l/ or /r/.
Another widespread process that persists late into development.
Mark an aspirated voiceless stop with the superscript h
Mark an unaspirated voiceless stop with the superscript =
A voiceless stop is aspirated in the onset of a stressed syllable.
it], Pete, [th
A voiceless stop is unaspirated after /s/.
e.g. [sp=un], spoon, [st=æmp], stamp, [əsk=eɪp], escape
- A voiceless stop is unaspirated in the onset of an
- unstressed sylllable.
e.g. [bæk=ʌp], backup, [thɪk= ɚ], ticker
Reminder: For a typical speaker, it generally is not necessary to mark detail about aspiration (can be predicted from context).