“Speed of Sound” – Cold Play

The study of sound systems of language is known as Phonology and is a branch of linguistics.

Some of my readers would like to know more about typical development of speech sounds for children.

It is quite common for parents to understand what their child is saying and for the less familiar listener to find it difficult. This communication issue often has to do with the clarity of speech.

As a Speech Pathologist I am very familiar with the following statements:

“I cannot understand what my child is saying”

“Other people say they can’t understand my child’s speech, but I think he/she speaks okay.”

“I can understand my child but my partner/spouse has no clue what he/she is saying.”

Today I will share some general information on what you could potentially expect from your child. This is a guide only and it is important to always remember there is considerable individual variation between children.

Typically, by the age of 3 years, approximately 75% of children should accurately pronounce:

  • ‘p’ in ‘pat’
  • ‘b’ in ‘ball’
  • ‘t’ in ‘hot’
  • ‘d’ in ‘dad’
  • ‘m’ in ‘mum’
  • ‘n’ in ‘no’
  • ‘h’ in ‘hi’
  • ‘w’ in ‘wet’
  • ‘k’ in ‘kick’
  • ‘g’ in ‘go’
  • ‘ng’ in ‘sing’
  • ‘y’ in ‘yellow’

By the age of 3 years 6 months, children should pronounce all of the above sounds including:

  • ‘f’ in ‘fish’

By the age of 4 years, children should pronounce all of the above sounds including:

  • ‘l’ in ‘light’
  • ‘sh’ in ‘wash’
  • ‘ch’ in ‘match’
  • ‘zh’ in ‘measure’

By the age of 4 years 6 months, children should pronounce all of the above sounds including:

  • ‘j’ in ‘jump’
  • ‘s’ in ‘mess’
  • ‘z’ in ‘zoo’

By the age of five, children should pronounce all of the above sounds, including:

  • ‘r’ in ‘run’
  • ‘v’ in ‘cave’

By the age of eight, children should have all previous sounds and finally, accurately pronounce:

  • ‘th’ like in ‘thing’ and ‘this’.

If as a parent you are in doubt about your own child’s speech sound development, an assessment by a speech pathologist will give you peace of mind on whether your child is typically developing or requires early intervention.

This information is neither exhaustive or for diagnostic purposes. It is to give you, as parent/caregiver, an indication of what to potentially expect for each of these ages in the area of speech sound development.

For additional information regarding typical development for children, please refer to the fact sheets on the Speech Pathology Australia website.

http://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/publications/fact-sheets

CB