What Are Phonological Processes?

I’m sure when you hear the term “phonological processes”, you wonder “what are those?” Phonological processes are common patterns of speech sound errors in children under 5. There are many different types of processes that can occur. If you hear someone mention one of these terms, now you will know what they mean!

Examples of Phonological Processes

  • Final consonant deletion—when the final consonant sound is omitted in words 
    • ha instead of hat
    • do instead of dog
  • Assimilation—when a sound from one position of a word is repeated in place of another sound
    • nun instead of done
    • wawa instead of water
  • Fronting—when an alveolar sound (t or d) is used in place of a velar sound (k or g)
    • tar instead of car
    • do instead of go
  • Stopping—when a stop sound (t, d, p, or b) is used in place of an airflow sound (f, v, s, z, sh)
    • leap instead of leaf
    • hout instead of house
  • Cluster Reduction—when one sound in a consonant cluster (or blend) is omitted
    • poon instead of spoon
    • dink instead of drink
  • Gliding—when a liquid sound (w or y) is used in place of a glide sound (l or r)
    • yion instead of lion
    • wain instead of rain
  • Weak Syllable Deletion—when an unstressed syllable is omitted in a multisyllabic word
    • puter instead of computer
    • efant instead of elephant 


So, the next time you hear the term “phonological processes”, understand that they are completely normal up until around age 5. Phonological processes occur as a child learns to talk; they are simplifying the speech patterns. The reason for this is that they do not yet have the ability to coordinate the lips, tongue, teeth, palate, and jaw for clear speech. 

Consult your Niagara Therapy, LLC Physical Therapist for a more individualized program for stretching and to meet your needs and personal goals at 814-464-0627.

Let us know what’s on your mind!