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Suffolk Center for Speech


Articulation vs. Phonological disorders

Not all speech sound disorders are alike! We often hear words like articulation and phonology used when talking about speech and disordered sound production. But what is the difference between articulation and phonology? Articulation is concerned with the physical production of the sounds. While phonology refers to the rules in which we combine the sounds of our language. (Bauman-Wängler, 2020)

When looking at disordered speech production it is important to understand whether the errors are due to an articulation or phonological disorder. Articulation is concerned with errors on the production of specific sounds and usually manifests as distortions, substitutions, and omissions due to an inability to perform the correct movements of the articulators (i.e., jaw, lips, tongue, etc.) . While Phonological errors are more predictable and typically occur across multiple sounds. Many phonological processes are typical during development but should be suppressed as the child matures. Some examples of phonological processes include fronting, when sounds typically produced in the back of the mouth are replaced with sounds produced in the front of the mouth (i.e., ‘cat’ becomes ‘tat’) and final consonant deletion, when the final consonant in a word or syllable is deleted (i.e., ‘cat’ become ‘ca’) (American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.)).

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.) Speech Sound Disorders: Articulation and Phonology. (Practice Portal). Retrieved month, day, year, from www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Clinical-Topics/Articulation-and-Phonology/.

Bauman-Wängler, J. A. (2020). Articulation and phonology in speech sound disorders: A clinical focus. (No Title).

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