Articulation and Phonology

The movement of the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs in order to make speech sounds.

What is articulation and phonology?

Articulation is how a sound is made using accurate and coordinated movement of the jaw, lips, tongue, teeth, and soft palate. Articulation is also impacted by voice, the ability to use breath and contraction of the vocal folds to create sound, and fluency, the rhythm and flow of speech. Phonology refers to the patterns of sound production, and phonological disorders refer to simplification strategies that children use to make speech production easier.

What are the signs and symptoms of an articulation delay and/or phonological disorder?

If a child is not making sounds, is not meeting expressive language milestones, or is difficult to understand due to errors in sound production, he/she may have an articulation delay and/or phonological disorder.

If your child is experiencing any of the above, he/she may be at risk for:

Difficulties with learning, developing and maintaining peer relationships, learning academic concepts, engaging in conversation, and/or attending to age appropriate activities.


Articulation and phonological skills are listed below in developmental sequence according to age of typical acquisition:


Birth - 3 Months

Makes reflexive sounds (e.g. crying, vocalizing to internal stimuli)

4 - 6 Months

Coos; laughs; engages in vocal play

6 - 12 Months

By 9 months babbles reduplicated syllables (e.g. “yayaya, dadada”); babbles/uses jargon with inflection, by 12 months produces variegated babbling (e.g. “yadata badoteeda”)

12 - 18 Months

Speech is 25-50% intelligible to listeners; produces primarily Consonant-Vowel (CV) syllable shapes (e.g. “ba/bottle, da/dog”); frequently uses reduplication (e.g. “baba”), syllable deletion (e.g. “nana” for “banana”), assimilation (e.g. “guck” for “duck”), and final consonant deletion (e.g. “pih” for “pig”)

18 - 2 Years

Speech is 50% intelligible to listeners; 70% of consonants are correct; begins to use CVC syllable shapes (e.g. “dog, cat, hop”) and two-syllable words

2 - 3 Years

Speech is 50-75% intelligible to listeners; produces sounds /p, b, m, k, g, f, w, h/ by age 3; produces all vowels correctly

3 - 4 Years

Produces sounds /sh, ch, v/ by age 4; suppresses the use of reduplication, syllable deletion, assimilation, final consonant deletion, velar fronting (e.g. “tat” for “cat”), prevocalic voicing (e.g. “ben” for “pen”), deaffrication (e.g. “sew” for “chew”), and cluster reduction excluding “s” (e.g. “boo” for “blue”)

4 - 5 Years

Speech is 75-90% intelligible to listeners; produces sounds /l, th, s, z/ by age 5; suppresses the use of depalatalization (e.g. “too” for “shoe”), final consonant devoicing (e.g. “pick” for “pig”), cluster reduction with “s” (e.g. “top” for “stop”)

5 - 6 Years

Speech is 90-100% intelligible to listeners; suppresses gliding of liquids (e.g. substituting “w” or “y” for “l” and/or “r”)

If you have concerns for your child’s development, contact us today for a FREE screening!

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