What Are Phonological Processes?

What Are Phonological Processes

Phonological processes are patterns of sound errors that typically developing children use to simplify speech as they are learning to talk. They do this because they lack the ability to appropriately coordinate their lips, tongue, teeth, palate, and jaw for clear speech.

Common Types of Phonological Processes:


1. Substitution Processes – replacing a sound for another sound.

Phonological Process Examples Usually outgrown by
Fronting – substitution of sounds that are made from the back of the mouth with sounds that are produced in the front of the mouth. cookie – produced like “tutie”

car – produced like “tar”

3 years, 6 months
Stopping – substitution of stop for a fricative sound. wish – produced like “wit”

puzzle – produced like “puddle”

3 years, 6 months
Gliding- substitution of liquid sound by a non liquid sound rail  - produced like “wail”

play – produced like “pway”

5 years


2. Syllable Structure Processes – syllables are reduced, omitted or repeated.

Phonological Process Examples Usually outgrown by
Final consonant deletion – elimination of consonant at the end of the word. road – produced like “roh”

cat – produced like “ca”

3 years, 3 months
Cluster reduction – reduction of consonants to another consonant. tree – produced like “tee”

stay- produced like “say”

4 years
Syllable reduction – elimination 2 or more syllables in a word. produced like “hecopter”

tomato- produced like “mato”

4 years


3. Assimilation Processes – syllables start to sound like surrounding sounds.

Phonological Process Examples Usually outgrown by
Reduplication.– repetition of syllable in a word. bottle – produced like ”baba”

daddy - produced like “dada”

3 years
Assimilation – consonant sounds like another consonant in a word. cup – produced like “kuk”

name – produced like “mame”

3 years, 9 months


Bowen, C. (2011). Table 3: Elimination of Phonological Processes. Retrieved from http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/ on 2/7/2023.