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/k/ and /g/

Help Your Child Pronounce /k/ and /g/

 

/k/ sounds, like in “car,” and /g/ sounds, like in “go,” are among the earlier developing sounds in a child’s repertoire. These sounds tend to emerge after bilabial sounds (/p, b, m/) are mastered, and most children will be consistently using /t, d, n/ sounds as well. While there is always a range for development, most children will master /k/ and /g/ sounds before 4 years old.

Understanding Pronunciation of /k/ and /g/:

  • Place of production: /k/ and /g/ sounds are produced in the same place – the back of the Help Your Child Pronounce /k/ and /g/mouth. Formally classified as “velars,” these sounds are often referred to as “back sounds.” The tongue is elevated in the back, making contact with the velum or “soft palate.” Typically errors in place of production are most common for these sounds.
  • Manner of production: These sounds are classified as “stops” or “plosives,” meaning that the sound does not get continuously pushed out, like it would with an /s/, for example. There is a burst of sound when producing a /k/ or /g/ sound alone.
  • Voicing: /k/ and /g/ place and manner of production are identical, however these two sounds differ when it comes to voicing. /k/ is the voiceless pair to /g/’s voiced sound. For example, when producing a /k/ sound, our vocal chords are off (not vibrating), however when producing a /g/ sound, our vocal chords are on and vibrating. Try it – put your hand on your throat and feel the vibration when producing a /g/, and feel the difference when producing an /k/! Many children will understand the difference between the two sounds but may substitute one for the other.

These sounds are integral for a child’s overall speech intelligibility, however there are common errors that are often seen for /k/ and /g/ sounds. These sounds are produced in the “back” of the mouth, and children who error will tend to substitute “front” sounds for /k/ and /g/. For example, a child who is demonstrating fronting may ask for “teas” when intending to play with keys, or may ask for “tate” rather than cake! When fronting /g/ sounds, children may explain “frod” for frog, or even “dorilla” for gorilla. These errors are common, however, may warrant remediation if they persist past 3 years old.

Click here to understand why pronouncing /r/ is so hard!


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Tipper vs. Dipper: How to Produce /S/ and /Z/ Speech Sounds

“Speech” can be thought of as verbal communication. It is the set of sounds that we make (using our voice and our articulators) that comprise syllables, words, and sentences. Speech alone carries no meaning, it is merely sound. Most speech sounds are mastered by 8-9 years old, with different sounds emerging at different ages.

/s/ and /z/ speech sounds can be challenging for many children. This sound is typically mastered close to 5 years old, however some children may continue to struggle past that point. When producing /s/ and /z/, there are 3 main factors to consider: place, manner, and voicing.

Place of Production:

When producing /s/ and /z/ sounds, most people can be categorized as “tippers” or “dippers.” Tippers will bring their tongue tip up to touch their alveolar ridge (the ridge behind our top teeth), whereas dippers will bring their tongue tip down towards their bottom teeth, or anywhere in between. Both placements are correct so long as the tongue stays at midline behind the teeth. Each individual will find which placement works best, however if children struggle with placement an interdental (between the teeth) lisp may result.

Manner of Production:

The /s/ and /z/ sounds are classified as “fricatives,” or pushing air out continuously through a small opening. Many children will have difficulty with the manner of /s/ and /z/ production, and will “lateralize” their airflow, resulting in a lateralized lisp.

Voicing:

/s/ and /z/ place and manner of production are identical, however these two sounds differ when it comes to voicing. /s/ is the voiceless pair to /z/’s voiced sound. For example, when producing an /s/ sound, our vocal chords are off (not vibrating), however when producing a /z/ sound, our vocal chords are on and vibrating. Try it – put your hand on your throat and feel the vibration when producing a /z/, and feel the difference when producing an /s/! Many children will understand the difference between the two sounds but may substitute one for the other.

If your child has difficult producing our “snake” sound (/s/) or our “bee” sound (/z/) a licensed speech-language pathologist can help!

Click here for more blogs on sound production: /m/, /k/ and, /b/ and /p/.

Click here for a list of books to help with specific sound productions.

Speech and Language: What is the Difference?

At a time when families are seeking treatment for their children, they may hear terms like “speech” or “language” and wonder, what’s mother and daughter talkingthe difference?  Many children will struggle with both speech and language aspects of communication, and it is important that families understand the distinction.

Speech:

“Speech” can be thought of as verbal communication. It is the set of sounds that we make (using our voice and our articulators) that comprise syllables, words, and sentences. Speech alone carries no meaning; it is merely sound.

There are three main components of speech:

  • Articulation (how we make each sound)
  • Voicing (using our “vocal cords”)
  • Fluency (intonation and rhythm)

Speech sounds emerge at different ages, and most children have all sounds mastered by age 9. Common speech errors occur when a child omits sounds (ex. “ba” for “ball”)  or substitutes one sound for another (ex. “wabbit” for “rabbit”). If you have questions about typical speech milestones, please see this blog

Language:

“Language” encompasses how we use speech to formulate sentences in order to communicate.  Language also consists of three parts:

Children may have difficulty with one or more components of language, as indicated by children choosing the wrong word, having a difficult time understanding ideas and concepts, and struggling with appropriate grammar when speaking or writing. Many older children may have difficulty decoding social language such as irony, sarcasm, or hidden meanings, which can negatively affect their ability to make and maintain friendships.

Communication is comprised of speech and language. Children struggling in one or more areas of communication may have difficulty being understood by both familiar and unfamiliar communication partners, making it more difficult for their wants and needs to be met. These difficulties may also create problems in school, both academically and socially.

Intervention can help children with difficulties in these areas. Speech-language pathologists can conduct evaluations and create plans that help to reduce both short-term and long-term effects of speech and/or language disorders. At NSPT, we want to see your children blossom, so please contact us if you have any questions about your child’s speech and/or language development!




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