Icelandic children’s acquisition of consonants and consonant clusters

Þóra Másdóttir*, Sharynne McLeod, Kathryn Crowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This study investigated Icelandic-speaking children’s acquisition of singleton consonants and consonant clusters. Method: Participants were 437 typically developing children aged 2;6–7;11 (years;months) acquiring Icelandic as their first language. Single-word speech samples of the 47 single consonants and 45 consonant clusters were collected using Málhljóðapróf ÞM (ÞM’s Test of Speech Sound Disorders). Results: Percentage of consonants correct for children aged 2;6–2;11 was 73.12 (SD = 13.33) and increased to 98.55 (SD = 3.24) for children aged 7;0–7;11. Overall, singleton consonants were more likely to be accurate than consonant clusters. The earliest consonants to be acquired were /m, n, p, t, j, h/ in word-initial position and /f, l/ within words. The last consonants to be acquired were /x, r, r̥, s, θ, n̥/, and consonant clusters in word-initial /sv-, stl-, str-, skr-, θr-/, within-word /-ðr-,-tl-/, and word-final /-kl̥,-xt/ contexts. Within-word phonemes were more often accurate than those in word-initial position, with word-final position the least accurate. Accuracy of production was significantly related to increasing age, but not sex. Conclusions: This is the first comprehensive study of consonants and consonant cluster acquisition by typically developing Icelandic-speaking children. The findings align with trends for other Germanic languages; however, there are notable language-specific differences of clinical importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1502
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Other keywords

  • Child
  • Child Language
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Phonetics
  • Speech
  • Speech Production Measurement


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