Semester of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



Children often simplify target speech sounds using phonological processes, or common developmental error patterns. However, some children produce less common error patterns that differ from common errors. In the current study, less common errors involving /l/ sounds were studied as the phoneme /l/ is a sound that is subject to frequent misarticulations in young children and perceptual confusion among listeners. The current study focused on less common errors because studies have suggested that atypical errors can indicate weak phonological representations and poor phonological awareness skills, which can have long-term effects on children’s literacy skills. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to better understand types of less common errors of /l/ in children and examine speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs’) perception and treatment of these errors. Participants included 22 certified speech-language pathologists with experience in assessing and treating children’s speech. Listeners judged the perceptual acceptability of children’s correct productions, common error productions, and less common error productions of word-initial /l/ using a multiple-choice task and visual analog scale. Listeners also selected how they would treat less common /l/ errors in the clinical setting. Results showed that there was variability in listeners’ perception of less common errors of /l/ as compared to correct and common error productions and that SLPs used many different treatment methods for these errors. This demonstrates a need for more consistent terminology, comprehensive literature, and perceptual training regarding less common speech errors involving /l/.



Committee Chair

Chung, Hyunju