Prevocalic Voicing

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have a preschool client who prevocalically voices everything – b/p, d/t, g/k, and so forth. Do you have any suggestions?

Most kids get voicelessness in the final position months before they can do it in the initial position. Here is the order in which I usually work these sounds into the child’s phonological repertoire:

Take a step back and work on final voiceless stops — /p/, /t/ and /k/. Use words like up, cup, eat, out, ick, book.

Then go to final voiceless sibilants — /f/, /s/, /sh/, /ch/. Use words like off, bus, push, ouch.

Then go to final /s/-clusters — /ps/, /ts/, /ks/. Use words like cups, boots, books.

Then go to words with initial /s/-clusters — /sp/, /st/, /sk/. Use words like spoon, star, skate.

Lastly work on the initial voiceless singletons — initial /p/, /t/, /k/, etc.

I heard Barbara Hodson speak in 2006, and she reported that she sees the same basic sequential pattern in children’s acquisition of these voiceless sounds.

4 thoughts on “Prevocalic Voicing”

  1. Thank you so much for explaining this and suggesting a sequence to follow. Any chance that you would have a word list for each one of these? I will be using the information that you already provided.

    1. Sorry, Jo Ann, I don’t have any prepared material like that. Just use a few words for each patter- use words that have meaning for the child. Make cards by drawing on index cards.

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks so much for providing this hierarchy. I have a kiddo who has both FCD and pre-vocalic voicing. Have you come across this before and do you have suggestions on what to target first (follow your hierarchy for prevocalic vs. FCD)?


    1. Andi, I’m sorry to tell you Pam Marshalla passed away in 2015. A peer consultant of Pam’s helps me handle questions such as these. Her initial reply is, “”Please provide specific examples of pre vocalic voicing so I can answer accurately.” You can leave your answer here and she’ll reply when she has the chance. Thanks!

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