Consonant cluster development in two-year-olds: General trends and individual difference

Sharynne McLeod, Jan Van Doorn, Vicki Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


A holistic view of phonological development can be attained only through exploration of the relationship between universal developmental sequences, to establish a general pattern of development and individual learning and to provide information regarding variability. This study examined consonant cluster production, looking specifically at the relationship between general trends and individual differences as children acquire these sounds. The spontaneous speech of 16 normally developing Anglo-Australian 2-year-olds was elicited monthly for 6 months, and the corpus of 96 samples was examined using independent and relational phonological analyses. Data demonstrated that 2-year-olds were able to produce a range of consonant clusters in word-initial and word-final position, but few of the younger participants could produce consonant clusters correctly. Only half of the participants showed an increase in the percent of consonant clusters produced correctly over the 6-month period; however, their developing phonological maturity was revealed in the increase in the range and diversity of their repertoire of consonant clusters and by their closer approximations to the adult target. Specific findings of the study were compared to 10 trends for children's acquisition of consonant clusters emerging from the literature over the last 70 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1171
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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