Adding Frication to a Client’s Phonological Repertoire

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My client has no fricatives/affricates. I have been working of F for about three months, and he is just not getting it.

This is how I work:  If I cannot get one particular phoneme when a client has none in the class, I revert back to stimulating the class or distinctive feature.

Instead of teaching one particular phoneme in the class or with the feature, stimulate for them all. That way the client learns to recognize the similarities between them.  The similarities between Th, F, V, S, Z, Sh, ZH, Ch, and J is the frication.

Don’t worry about which phoneme he is using.  Only concern yourself with the fact that he is adding frication to his phonological repertoire.  Therefore, if you are stimulating him to make S, and he makes Sh instead, don’t worry about it.  Reward him for adding the frication.

Think about it this way: The only difference between voiceless Th, F, S, Sh, Ch, and H is place of articulation.  Also, the only difference between voiced Th, V, Z, Zh, and J is place of articulation.  All of these sounds are fricatives, and each has a unique place.  Teach the manner/class/feature first, and the place second.  I believe that this reflects the way phonology develops naturally.

There are many ways to approach this.  Here are two ideas -–

1. Teach one sound and concept per phoneme in the same time period.  This is a basic Van Riper method. Give each sound its own “personality”:

  • Th (voiceless) – Th-th-th Angry goose sound
  • Th (voiced) – Thhhhh Motor boat sound
  • F – F-f-f-f-f Hissing cat sound
  • V – Vvvvvv Vacuum cleaner sound
  • S – Ssssss Snake sound
  • Z – Zzzzz Bee sound
  • Sh – Shhhhh Quiet sound
  • Zh – Zhhhhh Airplane sound
  • Ch – Ch-Ch-Ch Choo-choo train sound
  • J – J-J-J-J Jumping sound
  • H – H-h-h-h Panting dog sound

2. Teach one word per phoneme in the same time period. In general I like to use final position for the voiceless phonemes, and initial position for the voiced phonemes:

  • Th (voiceless) – Bath
  • Th (voiced) – That
  • F – Off
  • V – Vee (letter V)
  • S – Bus
  • Z – Zoo
  • Sh – Wish
  • Zh – Zsa-Zsa (a woman’s name)
  • Ch – Ah-Choo!
  • J – Joe
  • H – Hot


0 thoughts on “Adding Frication to a Client’s Phonological Repertoire”

  1. Hi-I love your suggestions Pamela and use them frequently. I have a couple of kids I can’t wait to try these affrication ideas on. I also have a technique for /f/ that has worked well for me as a bridge to a teeth to lip /f/ sound. I work with a lot of preschoolers who have had their top upper teeth pulled due to bottle teeth rot. I can often get a good sounding /f/ sound by having them slightly rounding their lips and blowing noisily. This tends to lower their upper gum line closer to the lower lip so that when their teeth do come in several years later they automatically use them to make a teeth to lip /f/ sound. In the meanwhile they have an /f/ approximation to use that sounds good to other people so they overlook the slightly distorted mouth look. This technique has worked so well with the “toothless” children that I sometimes use it with children who have teeth as a way for them to start to produce the /f/ sound more successfully. Once they can “hear” the /f/ sound I start to cue them to do a “biter sound” to get a stronger teeth to lip /f/.

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