My five year boy child is not able to speak letters starting with "L" or "R" clearly.

For example if he has to say "Light" he pronounce it as "Aaight" or sometimes "Haaight". Similar for say "Rat" he would say "Aat" or "Hat".

However when the letters comes in middle or end or word, he sometimes is able to pronounce it properly.

Is it a matter of concern? What I can do about it.

2 Answers 2


Usually speech problems are caused by hearing problems, problems with the technique to make certain sounds or lighter disabilities (heavier disabilities can be a reason as well, but I am sure you would be aware of them at this point).

the most likely (and best) scenario, technique problems Children learn speech by mimicking their surroundings (mostly their parents). But not every sound is easy to mimic, sounds like the sound of vocals are clear to hear and the movement of the mouth is easy to see, letters like for example b, p and w are often not as clearly to hear, especially if dialect is involved but the mouth movement is still easy to see. But letters like r and l are much more problematic, they are often unclear pronounced (sometimes different in different words), and the movement of the mouth is not visible to the outside. Kids have generally much more problems learning the pronunciation of these letter. Here in Germany where the r is actually pronounced with your throat and not like other letters with the tongue, it is not usual for children to still pronounce the r wrong when the are at the age of 10.

Your description sounds absolute typical for this scenario, especially that your children can pronounce these letters within words.

The best way to "fix" this would be to let your child repeat misspoken words correctly, while saying correctly yourself. If he for example says "Aaight" instead of Light, you show say the word correctly "Light" and let him repeat it. If he fails, say it together with him and let him then repeat it two or three times. Also tell him what to do with his tongue if he struggles for more than three attempts.

If that doesn't help It is unlikely that your child has deeper problems, but if you get the feeling that he doesn't make any progress even though you are trying to help him, you can consider hearing problems, and let a Dr. check him. (But again your description doesn't sound like something like that).

  • My concern with this answer is that you are suggesting repetition as a possible fix. I would highly recommend seeing the doctor before doing anything. Only a doctor can diagnose hearing problems and truthfully, no one of us here can advise you better than a professional speech and language teacher or doctor. Many children mispronounce words and grow out of it, but at five, and because the OP is concerned, it is best to see if there is a reason before acting.
    – WRX
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 17:08
  • 1
    @WillowRex I've heard people with hearing problems or disabilities speak and they have far more trouble with pronunciation and language than just misspelling the usual letters, that all children have more or less problems with. The description is quite clear and sounds just like the typical problems, that all children have. Saying he should see a doctor just scares the parents for no good reason.
    – Etaila
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 8:30
  • I seriously doubt it is a hearing problem or anything more than a normal five year old developing at a normal five year old boy's rate. This is why, IF the OP is concerned, a doctor is the fastest route to allaying parental concerns. Just my opinion, but having seen what pressure can do to a little boy, I suggest a gentle approach.
    – WRX
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 12:46
  • @WillowRex pressure is not my intention, not at all.
    – Etaila
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 13:15

LINK I think you should discuss your concerns with your child's doctor. S/he will either tell you immediately that it is not a concern, or at most suggest a speech and language professional.

What I would not do is to put any pressure at all on your child to repeat or practice.

I have a cousin who stuttered until his fifties. He is very unusual in that most stop way before that or never. His mother ridiculed/corrected/and pressured him until the day she died. He was 52 and still occasionally stutters, but nothing like the every sentence he did before the pressure came off. Stuttering is not the same, but putting pressure on can make the problem worse, that is why I included this anecdote.

Please try not to worry. It is very likely that the problem will be resolved.

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