What sounds should my child be saying at a certain age?
Children don’t simply wake up one day pronouncing all of their sounds perfectly. Actually, children develop sounds incrementally as their speech-motor systems mature. Some sounds are more complex to produce than others, so they emerge at a later stage.
Though children develop at different rates and variability is expected, we can know if a child’s speech development is generally on track based on expected milestones for their age. Keep reading to see what age children are generally expected to acquire each speech sound:
|‘p’ as in pig ‘b’ as in boot
‘m’ as in monkey ‘d’ as in donut
‘n’ as in nose ‘h’ as in hat
‘t’ as in tiger ‘k’ as in car
‘g’ as in goat ‘w’ as in window
‘ng’ as in ring ‘f’ as in fish
‘y’ as in yellow
|‘l’ as in leaf ‘s’ as in sun
‘ch’ as in chicken ‘sh’ as in shell
‘v’ as in vegetable ‘z’ as in zebra
‘j’ as in jelly
|‘r’ as in rainbow ‘zh’ as in measure
‘th’ (voiced) as in feather
|‘th’ (voiceless) as in thumb|
Data based on average ages of English phoneme acquisition across the world according to 90-100% criteria (McLeod & Crowe, 2018). This can be a handy guide for parents, carers and educators, to show that some sounds do take longer to learn than others. YES, it’s normal if your 4-year-old can’t say their ‘th’ sound yet!
NOTE: This is a guide only, not a hard and fast rule. Every child is different, and errors are common when learning. If you are concerned that your child’s speech development may be delayed, contact us to arrange a speech assessment with one of our experienced Speech Pathologists.