Phonological development is an aspect of language development that involves specifically the ability to use speech sounds to transmit meaning. Each language has a unique system for organizing speech sounds into categories, with each contrastive category called a phoneme (e.g., p versus b contrasts two phonemes in English that allows one to distinguish pat and bat as words with different meanings in oral spoken language). Children with delayed phonological development have difficulty learning the system of sound categories and contrasts and misarticulate (mispronounce) the speech sounds used in the languages they are learning.

This entry focuses on primary delays in phonological development, although such delays can be secondary to conditions that impair access to speech input (e.g., hearing impairment), the ability to understand the speech sound ...

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