Selected Phonological Processes (Patterns)*

Assimilation (Consonant Harmony)

One sound becomes the same or similar to another sound in the word

Process Description Example Likely Age of Elimination**
Velar Assimilation non-velar sound changes to a velar sound due to the presence of a neighboring velar sound

kack for tack; guck for duck

3  
Nasal Assimilation non-nasal sound changes to a nasal sound due to the presence of a neighboring nasal sound

money for funny; nunny for bunny

3
Substitution

One sound is substituted for another sound in a systematic way

Process Description Example Likely Age of Elimination**
Fronting sound made in the back of the mouth (velar) is replaced with a sound made in the front of the mouth (e.g., alveolar)

tar for car; date for gate

4
Stopping fricative and/or affricate is replaced with a stop sound

pun for fun; tee for see

doo for zoo; berry for very

chop for shop; top for chop; dump for jump; dat for that  

/f, s/ — 3

/z, v/ — 4

sh, ch, j, th — 5 

Gliding liquid (/r/, /l/) is replaced with a glide  (/w/, /j/)

wabbit for rabbit; weg for leg  

6–7
Deaffrication affricate is replaced with a fricative ship for chip; zhob for job   4
Syllable Structure

Sound changes that affect the syllable structure of a word

Process Description Example Likely Age of Elimination**
Cluster Reduction consonant cluster is simplified into a single consonant

top for stop

keen for clean

with /s/ — 5

without /s/ — 4 

Weak Syllable Deletion unstressed or weak syllable in a word is deleted

nana for banana; tato for potato 

4
Final Consonant Deletion deletion of the final consonant of a word bu for bus; no for nose; tree for treat   3

*These are common phonological processes (patterns). The list is not exhaustive.

**Individual differences can be significant.

References

Bauman-Waengler, J. A. (2012). Articulatory and phonological impairments. New York, NY: Pearson Higher Education.

Bernthal, J., Bankson, N. W., & Flipsen, P., Jr. (2013). Articulation and phonological disorders. New York, NY: Pearson Higher Education.

References for Likely Age of Elimination

Peña-Brooks, A., & Hegde, M. N. (2015). Assessment and Treatment of Speech Sound Disorders in Children: A Dual-Level Text. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

Shipley, K. G., & McAfee, J. G. (2016). Assessment in speech-language pathology: A resource manual. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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