Thursday, June 23, 2011

Speech-Language Pathology Topics: The Flap

As I was working on my one syllable word lists I was reminded of two things: one rather obvious and the other pretty obscure.

The obvious: If you are not using blends, medial consonants are not used in one syllable words. So, if I want a list of simple words that use a medial sound I'll need to use very simple two syllable words (CVCV, CVC, CVCVC).

The obscure: I completely forgot about a rather obscure sound. When a /t/ sound appears between two vowels in connected speech it is produced as a flap. When a /b/ sound appears between two vowels in connected speech it is often also produced as a flap. Say the following two sentences quickly and naturally.
  1. Look at the bike pedal.
  2. Look at the flower petal.
The /d/ in "pedal" and the /p/ in "petal" are produced in almost exactly the same manner - as a flap instead of as a clear /t/or /d/.

My conclusion: If you want to practice the /t/ sound, it is not useful to try to practice it in the medial position of a simple two-syllable word (bottle, button) because when those words are spoken in natural speech a flap is produced rather than a /t/. Once your child has mastered /t/ in the initial and final position of words it would be a better use of your time to practice it in connected speech with short phrases (on top).

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  1. Thanks for the informative article. There are few well-known speech therapy clinic in Kolkata who provide speech therapy in Kolkata. Looking forward to more informative articles from you.


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