What Are Phonological Processes?
It is always adorable to hear children talk in their own ways when they are still very young and learning to talk. But that will become a problem if the child keeps on talking in the baby language after a certain age.
This learning stage of learning to speak their parents’ language with all their shortcomings is called the phonological processes.
What Is It?
When the child tries to make the sounds their parents make, but they cannot produce all the sounds yet. That is when they cannot pronounce a complete word and replace certain consonants in the word with other consonants.
A good example is when the child says, for instance, bak instead of bag to name just one of them. They will also leave out consonants altogether to pronounce words such as hoe in the place of home and appe instead of apple.
But all these shortcomings will go away as the child’s brain starts to grow and fully grasp the spoken language. Luckily for small children, they do not even know they are dropping letters and parts of words, or it would have frustrated them.
Is This Process Normal?
This is the normal and natural process for small children to learn the spoken language, so there is no need to worry. If your child comes to you and asks for a nana instead of a banana, it is a good sign.
It means that the child can distinguish between different objects, and they know what it is but cannot pronounce it correctly. Other examples of the normal learning process to speak are reduplication, such as wawa for water and velar fronting, where kiss is tiss.
Not all children use the same type of replacement or velar fronting, but they all go through this process when learning to speak. So there is nothing wrong with your child when they say teffone instead of telephone, they will learn.
When Will It Go Away?
It is normal for children to talk in this way until they are around three years old, but some of these processes can last longer. You will find that some children will keep velar fronting for a bit longer and up to 4 years and cluster reduction up to 5 years.
Cluster reduction is when two or three consonants are occurring in sequence, and the child will omit at least one of them.
As you can derive from this, it is quite normal for a child, in fact, all children, to use these phonological processes to talk. This is a way for nature to help them not overwhelm their brains with the full spectrum of the language.