Speech sounds is the articulation and clarity of how we use words in a language. Saying sounds clear, can help unfamiliar listeners understand us. In this blog, we’ll discuss what is speech sounds, speech sound examples and how many speech sounds there are in the English language.
What is a speech sound?
We hear speech sounds differently from the way we say the alphabet. For example, when we say the “b sound”, we express it as “buh” instead of “bee” which we use in the alphabet. Children can learn speech sounds by listening to those talking around them and through repetitive practice. Sounds are familiar to your child from before they were born and continue their development through environmental sounds and speech sounds.
When your baby starts babbling, this is when they start playing around with their voices and first initial sounds. Speech sounds will start developing gradually from 1 year old. Where speech sounds will start gaining clarity from 3 years old. This implies that your child won’t be able to say all their speech sounds right away. Every child works at their own pace. In our speech sounds by chart blog, here, you’ll find all the different speech sounds your child can be expected to say.
How many types of speech sounds are there in the English language
As previously mentioned, speech sounds are different from our English alphabetic language. In the alphabet, we only have 26 letters. In speech sounds, we have a total of 44 different sounds.
20 vowel sounds
24 consonant sounds
Encouraging children to understand and use different speech sounds can be really beneficial to their speech development. In our 10 top tips for at-home speech sound practice blog, here, we share strategies to encourage speech sound development.
What are basic speech sounds?
Speech sounds are commonly known as phonemes. Letters are used to represent sounds. When we count syllables/letters in words, we represent these sounds with slashes. For example, you want to sound the final sound in dot. We’ll say /t/.
What are speech sounds examples?
Let’s explore initial, medial, and final sounds. Sounds can be a consonant, vowels, or clusters.
Initial: start of words
Medial: middle of words
Final: end of words
By 3 years old, your child can be expected to produce the following speech sounds; h as in he, zh as in measure, y as in yes, w as in we, ng as in sing, m as in me, n as in no, p as in up, k as in car, t as in to, b as in ba, g as in go, d as in do.
On our youtube channel, you can find strategies on how to produce and encourage speech sounds to your child. Let’s start with teaching your child how to say the /b/ sound, here.
How can we support you?
We’re here to support your family find success with your speech sounds. Whether it's S, B or T (or any other sound). We'll guide your child from saying an individual sound to using it in sentences. Create your free profile and book a call with our speech professionals for only £30.
Find out more about our speech therapy program here.
Tanya van der Merwe
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