Speech Sound Developmental Norms

0 – 3 years:   /m/, /n/, /h/, /p/

2 – 4 years:   /f/, /k/, /g/, /d/, “y”

2 – 8 years:   /w/, /b/, /t/

3 – 4 years:   /s/, /t/

3 – 6 years:   /l/

3 – 8 years:   /ch/, /sh/, “j”

4 – 7 years:   /v/, voiceless “th”

4 – 7 years:   /z/, “zh”, voiced “th”

Although all children develop at different rates, this is the average age that 75% of children achieve accurate speech sound production of specific sounds.

In Australian English, sounds are grouped together based on their place, manner, and voicing.

  1. Place of articulation – where the sound is made?
  2. Manner of articulation – howthe sound is made?
  3. Voicing – is the sound voiced or unvoiced?

Place

Place refers to where a sound is made in the mouth e.g. the ‘b’ sound is made with only the lips.

Manner 

Manner is the type of sound made. In Australian English, we have the following:

  • Plosives: (or ‘stops’)  /b/, /p’/, /t/, /d/, /k/ and /g/
  • Fricatives:                 /f/, /v/, “th”, /s/, /z/, /sh/, ‘“zh” and /h/
  • Affricates:                /ch/ and /j/
  • Nasals:                     /m/, /n/ and ‘ng’
  • Liquids:                    /l/ and /r/
  • Glides:                     ‘y’ and /w/

Voice

Voicing refers to whether the vocal folds vibrate (voiced sound) or not (voiceless sound) when making a sound.

When sounds are emerging, children’s speech production may include omissions (sun – ‘un’), substitutions (cat – ‘tat’) or inconsistent productions. 

Parents can facilitate speech sound development by exposing children to emerging sounds in games and books and naturally providing models when sound substitutions occur (p, p, pop). 

If your child’s speech/sound development is not following the typical developmental path, an assessment by a speech therapist may be needed. Our experienced clinicians are available to answer any questions you may have.

Tricia Linstrom CPSP MSPAA

Adapted from Shriberg’s Order of Speech-Sound Acquisition