Why Does My Child Put The End Sounds of Words at the Beginning? {And is it Normal?}

Welcome to a new installment of my “Why Does My Child____ {And is it Normal?}” series. You can read more about this series HERE

I have gotten this question many times before. I must admit…the first few times I got this question it threw me. I had to think hard of what the person was really referring to. Interestingly enough, my own son is an expert at this. So what is it? Is it normal?

Why Does My Child Put the End Sounds

What is a Phonological Process?

If you’ve been following along for a while, you may have read some of my posts on phonological processes, delays, and treatment. What is a phonological process? Here is a quote from my post on Phonological Processes and Phonological Delays:

They are the typical patterns of how a child simplifies his speech (so “normal” speech sound errors) as they learn to speak. A child is not born being able to produce all the sounds and sound patterns of his/her language. As a child is learning how to speak English, he will simplify sounds and sound patterns. For example, a young child will simplify the word “bottle” to something like “baba.” A young child may also say “goggie” for “doggie,” “sue” for “shoe,” or “nail” for “snail.” Phonological processes, then, are the normal patterns of simplification all children use as they are learning to speak. Just like articulation skills, every child will develop their phonology skills differently, but there are ages when a child should stop using different phonological processes.

So as you can see, it is normal for young children to simplify their speech as they are learning. Eventually though, children will stop simplifying their speech and will learn to speak like the adults around them.

So why does my kid put the end sounds of words at the beginning then?

When your child is saying “guck” for truck (or duck or stuck as my own son does) or “tat” for cat he is taking a sound or a similar sound as the ending sound, and placing it at the beginning of the word. This pattern is referred to as assimilation (also known as harmony). Assimilation refers to when a sound starts to sound like a surrounding sound. Sometimes a child will put a beginning sound (or similar sound) of a word at the end of word also, like “kak” for cat or “beb” for bed.

Is It Normal?

YES! This is another phonological process that is quite common and very normal in toddlers. We typically see this process disappear around age 3 years and 9 months, but you should see your child slowly “fixing” these errors over time, especially after he has turned three.

Does your child use this process at all in his speech?

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About Katie

Katie is a licensed, credentialed and certified pediatric speech-language pathologist and mom to three (5, 3 and 9 months). Her passion about educating, inspiring and empowering parents of children with all abilities led her to start her blog Playing With Words 365 where she shares information about speech and language development, therapy ideas and tips, intervention strategies and a little about her family life too. Katie has been working in the field of speech pathology for 9 years and is certified in The Hanen Centre’s It Takes Two to Talk ® and Target Word ® programs and holds a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition to blogging and being a mommy, Katie works part time in her small private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Needed this today! My 17 month old does this a lot! So helpful, Katie, and as always- wonderfully explained!

    • Alisha yes my 24 month does this too :) ALL THE TIME! Good to know I explained it ok….sometimes I am not so sure! 😉

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